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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More