The world is one step closer to defeating malaria. The World Malaria Report 2015 issued really good news. It shows that malaria mortality rates in Africa have dropped by 66% in all age groups and by 71% among children under five since 2000. The prospect is even better since a US-team developed a vaccine that could actually be effective.
Malaria is an infectious disease which can be transmitted via the sting of the infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. Most of the recorded cases of malaria have been present in Africa, but also in certain regions of Asia (Middle East) and, to a certain extent, Latin America.
The vaccine contains weakened genetically modified malaria parasite (Plasmodium falciparum) and it exposes the organism to the disease, making the immune system act and block a possible infection with the full-blown virus.
The tests returned encouraging results. Ten people were treated with the vaccine and there were no actual malaria infections and side effects.
Sebastian Mikolajczak, one of the researchers, declared that the attenuated form of the parasite found in the vaccine is not dangerous for the health. It is also immunogenic. After only one administration, there is a strong immune response against the actual malaria parasite.
Creating safe and attenuated strains of parasites remains difficult, but further research and tests are to be made in order to ease the process. The successful creation of this vaccine is an important milestone in the fight against malaria, especially for Africa. The disease creates rampage there. Ninety percent of all deaths caused by malaria in 2015 occurred only in Africa. One out of five child deaths in Africa is attributed to malaria.
Research on a cure to malaria is also really active. Unfortunately, the parasite is highly adaptable and it sprung a type of medication-resistant organisms. But scientists at the Drug Discovery and Development Center of University of Cape Town have discovered a new anti-malaria compound that may contribute to the eradication of malaria. The founder and director of the Center, Professor Kelly Chibale, says the compound is accessible to all stages of the malaria parasite and it can block the spreading of the virus.
The possibility of completely eradicating malaria has shaken the medical world. This will increase greatly both life expectancy and living conditions in Africa and many other poorer regions of the globe.
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