At the 2010 Keystone Symposium on "Malaria: new approaches to understanding Host-Parasite interactions", an extra scientific session to discuss animal models in malaria research was convened at the request of participants. This was prompted by the concern of investigators that skepticism in the malaria community about the use and relevance of animal models, particularly rodent models of severe malaria, has impacted funding decisions and publication of research using animal models. Several speakers took the opportunity to demonstrate the similarities between findings in rodent models and human severe disease, as well as points of difference. The variety of malaria presentations in the different experimental models parallels the wide diversity of human malaria disease and, therefore, might be viewed as a strength. Many of the key features of human malaria can be replicated in a variety of nonhuman primate models, which are very under-utilized. The importance of animal models in the discovery of new anti-malarial drugs was emphasized. The major conclusions of the session were that experimental and human studies should be more closely linked so that they inform each other, and that there should be wider access to relevant clinical material.
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