Primers on the Fight Against Malaria

April 23, 2005
Monday 25th April is Africa Malaria Day. Here are two excellent primers on the fight against Malaria. First, this special edition of Nature magazine in 2004 summarizes the state of scientific knowledge on the fight against malaria. It is well worth reading. Here is a quote from the introduction:
"[In this edition] experts reveal that there is greater hope of beating malaria now than ever before. But they also express deep dissatisfaction with the pace and effectiveness of current projects. Patchy international efforts need to be scaled up and given fresh impetus and direction, they say. And billions, not millions, of dollars are needed - one bold move would be to divert some of developing countries' debt repayments to malaria instead."
Second, this is a very useful paper from the Lancet summarizing the state of scientific knowledge on progress towards a malaria vaccine.
"Large gains in the reduction of malaria mortality in the early 20th century were lost in subsequent decades. Malaria now kills 2–3 million people yearly. Implementation of malaria control technologies such as insecticide-treated bednets and chemotherapy could reduce mortality substantially, but an effective malaria vaccine is also needed. Advances in vaccine technology and immunology are being used to develop malaria subunit vaccines. Novel approaches that might yield effective vaccines for other diseases are being evaluated first in malaria. We describe progress in malaria vaccine development in the past 5 years: reasons for cautious optimism, the type of vaccine that might realistically be expected, and how the process could be hastened. Although exact predictions are not possible, if sufficient funding were mobilised, a deployable, effective malaria vaccine is a realistic medium-term to long-term goal."
See the whole article from THE LANCET, Vol 363, January 10, 2004.


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