PATH, Burnet Institute, and WEHI announce Product Development and Access Partnership funded by the Australian Government to support availability of diagnostic tools for the fight against malaria

May 8, 2024 by PATH

New partnership to increase sustainable access to diagnostic tools that enable optimal malaria treatment options in the Pacific and Southeast Asia regions.

On April 25, 2024, The Australian government announced an investment of up to AU$30 million to support governments and communities in the Pacific and Southeast Asia regions in the elimination of malaria. You may find more information here.

Countries in the Pacific and Southeast Asia region have committed to eliminating malaria. However, malaria epidemiology and socio-economic profiles are extremely heterogeneous across the region, requiring a suite of strategies and tools to sustain progress toward its elimination. According to the 2023 World Malaria Report, in 2022 “there were an estimated 249 million malaria cases in 85 endemic countries and areas—an increase of 5 million cases compared with 2021.” Indonesia, Myanmar, and Papua New Guinea carry the highest disease burden in terms of number of cases in the region. Slower progress toward its elimination in some countries of the region puts at risk the efforts of neighboring countries, including the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Thailand, and China. Sustainable access to diagnostic tools across the region is needed to keep the momentum in the fight against malaria.

With support from the Australian government through Partnerships for a Healthy Region, PATH, the Burnet Institute, and WEHI (Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research) are receiving AU$8 million to implement a project that integrates proven product-development capacity with strong regional and national relationships and partnerships in the Pacific and Southeast Asia regions.

  • “PATH is excited to be working with the Australian government and our partners, Burnet Institute and WEHI, in advancing scientific research and access to malaria diagnostics across genders and populations at risk of exclusion. Our commitment to fit-for-purpose health products ensures that patients receive access to the right treatment at the right time.”
    – Melanie Saville, PATH Chief Scientific Officer

  • “There are numerous challenges for malaria diagnosis, treatment, surveillance, and control in our region—inadequate sensitivity of the currently available rapid diagnostic tests, particularly for Plasmodium vivax malaria, prevents timely access to effective treatments. We welcome the opportunity to work with partners to evaluate the next generation of malaria diagnostics that will address some of these key barriers to elimination in the Indo-Pacific region. Through effective partnerships with communities and partner governments, we will support evidence-based policy and implementation to advance equitable access to effective diagnostics to accelerate malaria elimination.”
    – Professor Leanne Robinson, Burnet Institute Program Director for Health Security and Pandemic Preparedness and Head of the Vector-borne Diseases and Tropical Public Health Working Group

  • “Plasmodium vivax is considered the most challenging and resilient malaria parasite due to its ability to remain hidden in the liver for years. Currently, there are no tests that can accurately detect who is carrying this insidious parasite in their body. This new partnership will be critical to filling this knowledge gap by accelerating the development of novel diagnostics that can be used in areas like the Indo-Pacific, where the parasite continues to be a leading barrier to malaria eradication.”
    – Professor Alan Cowman AC, WEHI Deputy Director and internationally acclaimed malaria researcher

The partnership will advance a portfolio of high-quality diagnostics to ensure equitable access to optimal malaria treatment options across genders and populations at risk of exclusion, as well as accelerate eliminating malaria in accordance with national and regional aspirations in the Pacific and Southeast Asia regions. Strategic objectives will be achieved by working with regional stakeholders to ensure (i) a strong capacity to assess diagnostic tools in the context of their needs; (ii) readiness for effective and equitable adoption of products; and (iii) sustainable integration and scale-up of Product Development and Access Partnership (PDAP)-supported products into health systems, accounting for competing health priorities.

We would also like to congratulate James Cook University and Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) who will also support the fight against malaria to strengthen surveillance and control of mosquito-borne diseases and support the availability of novel drugs for treatment in pregnancy and children, respectively. The PDAP program is part of Partnerships for a Healthy Region, an Australian government initiative working with governments and civil society organizations in the Pacific and Southeast Asia regions to build resilient, equitable, and inclusive health systems that can respond to shared health challenges.

About PATH

PATH is a global non-profit dedicated to health equity. With more than 40 years of experience forging multisector partnerships and expertise in science, economics, technology, advocacy, and dozens of other specialties, PATH develops and scales up innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing health challenges. Learn more at

About Burnet

Burnet is an independent, not-for-profit, medical research institute and an accredited international NGO working toward a more equitable world through better health. Burnet undertakes a range of programs across the Indo-Pacific region and in Africa that focus on global health issues. Through partnerships and engagement with a broad range of stakeholders and communities, Burnet develops laboratory-based, implementation, and social research programs, policies, and products that deliver better health outcomes, so no one is left behind. To find out more go to

About WEHI (Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research)

WEHI is where the world’s brightest minds collaborate and innovate to make life-changing scientific discoveries that help people live healthier for longer. Our medical research has been serving the community for more than 100 years, making transformative discoveries in cancer, infectious and immune diseases, developmental disorders, and healthy aging. WEHI brings together diverse and creative people with different experiences and expertise to solve some of the world’s most complex health problems. With partners across science, health, government, industry, and philanthropy, we are committed to long-term discovery, collaboration, and translation. At WEHI, we are brighter together. Find out more at