News / Health

Scientists Race to Contain Malaria: New Discoveries, More Resistance

Scientists Race to Contain Malaria: New Discoveries, More Resistancei
X
May 18, 2013 3:35 AM
Two new medical discoveries are raising hopes of containing malaria - the mosquito-borne parasitic disease that each year infects more than 200 million people and claims an estimated 660 thousand lives. Meantime, the World Health Organization is warning about dire consequences if a drug-resistant form of malaria spreads beyond southeast Asia.

Scientists Race to Contain Malaria: New Discoveries, More Resistance

Carol Pearson
Two new medical discoveries are raising hopes of containing malaria - the mosquito-borne parasitic disease that each year infects more than 200 million people and claims an estimated 660 thousand lives.  Meantime, the World Health Organization is warning about dire consequences if a drug-resistant form of malaria spreads beyond southeast Asia.

Artemisinin has helped cut global malaria deaths by more than 25 percent over the past decade. But now, in parts of Southeast Asia, this drug no longer works. And the World Health Organization's Dr. Shin Young-Soo warns of serious setbacks if drug resistance continues to spread.  

"The truth is, that malaria will beat us all unless we do more than what we are doing now, and we do it better," he said.

Controlling malaria involves a range of strategies: using insecticidal bed nets to prevent mosquito bites, spraying insecticides, preventive treatment for children  and pregnant women, and controlling or changing mosquitoes, or the malaria parasites they carry.

The World Health Organization says that in the last 10 years, 20 countries have brought the disease under control. At a U.S. congressional hearing, Dr. Mark Dybul executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, said the world is on course to end malaria.

"We've had so much success over the last 10 years that you've heard about, that high-transmission areas are becoming much more confined," said Dybul.

Dybul said global efforts have led to better treatment and more effective control of the mosquito that carries the parasite.
 
Dr. Anthony Fauci, at the US National Institutes of Health, points to promising research that involves introducing a strain of bacteria into the mosquito.

"It's a bacteria that infects the mosquito, and what it does is it interferes with the developmental process that the malaria parasite goes through in the mosquito in its lifecycle," said Fauci.

And once the bacterium is in the mosquito, it's passed down to succeeding generations. The hope is, these malaria-proof mosquitoes eventually will replace those that can carry the parasite.  

"Which means, if you can get this out there among populations of mosquitoes in different regions of the world in different countries, it could have a profound effect on the control of malaria," said Fauci.

The true test, of course, will come when mosquitos infected with the bacterium are released into the wild. Dr. Guowu Bian is the Michigan State University scientist who led this research. He spoke to VOA via Skype.

"I hope in a few years, maybe three or four years, our mosquito can go to the field," he said.

Another promising line of research involves manipulating the mosquito's genes. Right now, the anopheles mosquito has no defense against the malaria parasite. If scientists can change its genetic makeup, the mosquito's immune system could repel the organism.

Meanwhile, the clock is ticking as the malaria parasite becomes immune to the world's front-line drug against the disease.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid