World Malaria Day: 5 Breakthroughs in Fighting the Disease
Monday, April 27, 2015
Globally, 3.3 billion people in 106 countries are at risk of malaria. In 2013, only one in five African children with malaria received effective treatment, 15 million pregnant women did not receive a single dose of preventative drugs and an estimated 278 million in Africa still live in households with no insecticide-treated bed net, according to the World Health Organization.
However, despite these numbers, malaria mortality rates have decreased by 47 percent worldwide and 54 percent in Africa alone since the year 2000.
The following five advances reflect the progression in the fight against malaria.
1. Breath test
Australian scientists announced breath testing may lead to an easier and earlier detection of malaria, in a groundbreaking study that may eventually replace the traditional blood test. Researchers at the CSIRO and QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute discovered people infected with malaria had higher levels of a sulphur-based chemical on their breath.
2. Malaria vaccine
The world’s first viable vaccine against the disease could be available in African countries as early as October, after final trial results confirmed its potential to partially prevent malaria in children. Researchers said the vaccine, called RTS,S, was effective in more than a third of children when the first dose is administered between the ages of five and 17 months.
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