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Pedro Alonso: “We need to encourage research now more than ever”


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One of the world’s foremost global authorities on imalaria research, Pedro Alonso, visited CNIO last Friday to give a presentation on Global Health Challenges

Alonso highlighted research efforts as a key element for eradicating infectious diseases that especially affect countries with fewer economic resources

Researcher Pedro Alonso, Head of Barcelona’s Institute of Global Health and winner of the Príncipe de Asturias Prize for International Cooperation in 2012, visited the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) last Friday to give a presentation entitled Global Health Challenges, as part of CNIO’s Distinguished Seminars cycle.

During the first part of his presentation, Alonso highlighted one of human history’s greatest achievements: the healthcare revolution that has helped—over the course of just 150 years—to increase the average lifespan by 25 years. That average has been increased by up to 45 years in the richest areas of the planet, such as Japan or Scandinavia.

“For two million years of history, life expectancy for human beings was remarkably constant, but after 1900, thanks to the development of vaccines and the fight against infectious diseases, we began to observe this increase,” said the researcher.

The scientist reinforced the need to direct research efforts to the worst affected areas of the planet, given that they represent 90% of the total population affected by these kinds of diseases.

Alonso also presented the latest advances in the development of the RTS,S malaria vaccine, a development process that he leads, and which is currently undergoing phase III clinical trials. The results of the trial will be available in 2014.

The Banco Sabadell Foundation provided support for this lecture.

Pedro Alonso after his talk. CNIO

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