Future in Malaria Research

Friday, 30/09/2016

Malaria is a disease that is caused by a parasite that belongs to the Plasmodium group. The virus is transmitted to the body through the bite of an infected mosquito. The symptoms of this disease include fever, chills, sweating, which usually occur weeks after the patient has been bitten by the mosquito. The patient might experience pain in the muscles, fatigue, shivering, fast heart rate, headache and nausea.
Consumption of antimalarial drugs is prescribed for the treatment of Malaria. Apart from this, many drugs are prescribed as a measure to control the symptoms of this disease. The medication prescribed depends solely on the severity of the disease. The drugs that are generally used for the treatment of malaria are:
• Quinine
• Mefloquine
• Clindamycin
• Doxycycline
• Proguanil
• Chloroquine
• Hydroxychloroquine
Malaria as a disease has a dire consequence on the public health and also impacts the development of the country. The hardest hit by this disease is Africa. According to the World Health Organization, “a child dies every minute from malaria in Africa”. All efforts to eradicate malaria have miserably failed in the area and the commonly used antimalarial drugs have no effects on the parasites. The scientists and doctors of the Sub Saharan Africa are currently doing research in order to come up with a vaccination for malaria but the testing is incomplete.

RESEARCH ON MALARIA IN AFRICA
• The contribution of African scientists in this field of research until recently has been minimal. It was in 1997, when the need for a strong African research institutions and trained African malariologists was felt and also highlighted in the Dakar meeting leading to the launching of the Multilateral Initiative on Malaria (MIM).
• Ever since the MIM came into existence, the number of ongoing projects involving African Institutions and African scientists has increased.

FUTURE OF MALARIA RESEARCH IN AFRICA
• The future of malaria research in Africa is a combination of bright and bleak. There are many organizations that are funding for new initiatives.
• The European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership is a very important initiative to maintain the European – African association through the development of vaccines. The African scientists have a long term objective of developing high quality research of malaria.
The research on malaria remains broken outside the MIM in Africa. Within this institution, there is a divide within which leads to weakness in the links and there is also an imbalance in the funding of the initiatives (the northern partners are generally benefitted from the funds). It would be very difficult to start new initiatives until and unless the imbalance in the funding prevails.

FUTURE OF MALARIA RESEARCH IN THE UNITED STATES

The United States Government has launched the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who are responsible for researchers. The research of CDC expands from a simple basic research to development to applying that research in eliminating this disease worldwide.
The current goals of CDC’s malaria research are:
• Develop the combination of current involvements for malaria control
• Form and combine fresh or revised involvements
• Identify opportunities’ in order to combine with other initiatives
• Assess and alleviate things that can be a potential threat for controlling malaria.
The U.S Government has taken many health initiatives against Malaria.
• In 2005, the US government initiated the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative. Since then this initiative has decreased the number of deaths in 19 target countries of Africa. It supports many programs focused on malaria control.

• Amazon Malaria Initiative is another initiative where CDC has contributed by providing a technical expertise in evaluating the antimalarial drug resistance, molecular biology and entomology to the countries in the Central and South America.

MALARIA RESEARCH BY WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION (WHO)
The malaria research initiated by WHO in collaboration with UNICEF, UNDP and World Bank focuses mainly on aiding middle and lower income countries increase their contribution in diagnosing and treating malaria and preventing the spread of this illness mostly among the children and pregnant women. The research mainly assesses the diagnostic tests and evaluation of drugs for pregnant women for safety purposes. The World Health organization has also contributed in decreasing the number of deaths in Africa due to Malaria.