Researchers discovered that one microbe can effectively stop malaria transmission amongst mosquitoes, and therefore amongst humans. This revelation can have a great impact on efforts to stop the spread of the disease. Microsporidia is a microbe found on the shores of Lake Victoria in Kenya where it was discovered that the mosquitoes in the area didn’t carry malaria, which is exceptional since neighbouring populations were carriers. The research team deduced that one specific microbe blocked the acquisition and spread of malaria.
“The data we have so far suggest it is 100% blockage, it’s a very severe blockage of malaria,” Dr Jeremy Herren, from the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe) in Kenya told the BBC.
He added: “It will come as a quite a surprise. I think people will find that a real big breakthrough.”
More than 400,000 people are killed by malaria each year, most of them children under the age of five.
While huge progress has been made through the use of bed nets and spraying homes with insecticide, this has stalled in recent years. It is widely agreed new tools are needed to tackle malaria.
Malaria causes a lot of deaths every year and now researchers have made a giant leap forward by producing a vaccine that cuts the risk of the disease in half!
Malaria deaths have come down from more than a million to an estimated 780,000 a year, according to the latest report from the Roll Back Malaria partnership of the World Health Organisation. Three countries were certified malaria-free in the past four years, and nine more are preparing to move towards elimination – but that is out of 108 where the disease is endemic.
Since bed nets are not always effective, and not always used as they should be – there have been reports of some employed as fishing nets – and drugs can become ineffective, a vaccine could massively improve children’s chances.
While researchers started work on a potential Aids vaccine with extraordinary and, as it turned out, misplaced optimism, many in the scientific community thought a malaria vaccine was a non-starter. Nobody had ever made a vaccine against a parasite-borne disease.
Malaria No More has a book released through The Domino Project that is a collection of essays on the state of malaria. The good news is that when you purchase a copy of this book, the money spent goes directly to campaigns that stop the spread of malaria.
The Domino Project in conjunction with Box of Crayons is working with Malaria No More to help end malaria. No More’s mission is to end malaria in Africa by 2015. A child dies every 45 seconds from malaria.
It isn’t very often that a book has the power to save a life. Yes, good books can improve lives, shape lives, even change lives. But when was the last time a book literally helped save a life? If you’re reading this page, the answer is right now.
$20 from the purchase of each copy of End Malaria will go to to Malaria No More to send a mosquito net to a family in need and to support life-saving work in the fight against malaria. That’s 100% of the Kindle sale, and most of the hard copy price ($25).