It is now well-established that well-coordinated interventions are essential for malaria elimination, including integrated vector control management (with insecticide-treated bed nets and indoor residual spraying), reliable detection of cases, effective drugs for prevention and treatment, together with community involvement and enthusiasm to adhere to the interventions. After initial success, most programmes have reached stagnation, with progressive loss of earlier gains. The pressure needs to be kept full on, not only on policy-makers and sponsors to maintain and amplify the global effort in the long term, but also on the research community to continue developing new tools. Obviously, an effective vaccine (or vaccines) would be a powerful addition to the arsenal, and this is much needed, but vaccines have proven to be a difficult target to achieve. While waiting for the elusive vaccine, many have been looking for feasible alternatives and inventive new approaches adapted to specific situations or capable of solving specific problems. Such alternatives, big and small, have incremental value and in terms of elimination, every little helps.
This Thematic series in Malaria Journal will collect published papers on innovative approaches and invite new contributions to stimulate further research.