Wills Point, Texas – GFA Special Report (Gospel for Asia) – Discussing the fight against malaria worldwide via mosquito netting and medical care to combat this parasitic genius.
Combating a Tough Disease
Malaria has a history extending back thousands of years. The legendary Greek doctor, Hippocrates (born in 460 B.C.), described periodic fevers. It was so common in the Roman Empire that one report said it may have contributed to the empire’s decline. At one time, it was also common across Europe and North America.
Malaria needs a combination of high population density, high anopheles mosquito density, and high rates of transmission from humans to mosquitos and vice versa. If any of the factors is lowered sufficiently, the parasite will eventually disappear from the area. However, unless eliminated entirely, it can be re-established if conditions revert to a combination favorable to the parasite.
The fight against malaria has raged for centuries. Scientific studies on malaria saw their first major advance in 1880, when a French army doctor working at a military hospital in Algeria observed parasites in the red blood cells of infected patients. Alphonse Lavern suggested that malaria was caused by this organism, which along with other later discoveries, earned him the Nobel Prize in 1907.
More than a century later, the fight against malaria continues. It is expensive. According to one report on research and development challenges in the health field, one drug costs $150–200 million and seven to 10 years to develop, one vaccine costs $600–800 million and takes 10–15 years, one diagnostic costs up to $50 million and takes three to five years, and one vector control product takes $60–65 million and 10–12 years. It projects the annual research and development need for malaria over a decade ending in 2022 will range from $5.5 billion to $8.3 billion.
This article originally appeared on gfa.org
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