Need for biomedical research in malaria eradication

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Washington, Nov 1 (ANI): There is a need for biomedical research and new interventions to eradicate malaria worldwide, say scientists at National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

While malaria has been controlled in many local and regional populations, the permanent elimination of malaria parasites throughout the world remains an elusive goal, and the disease continues to claim nearly one million lives each year.

In a new commentary, Dr. B. Fenton Hall from NIH and Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, discuss the lessons learned from past attempts to eradicate malaria and identify key challenges to achieving success today.

The renewed effort to eradicate malaria will require a long-term commitment that incorporates multiple activities, interventions and approaches, they said.

As success in controlling malaria is achieved, the behaviour and distribution of malaria parasites and the mosquitoes that spread them are likely to change.

Scientists must be prepared to anticipate these changes and alter their strategies to keep ahead of them by developing a robust pipeline of new tools and interventions.

The scientists noted that such a pipeline would require a sustained research effort.

To reach the goal of malaria eradication, the authors write that several research challenges must be addressed and overcome, which include translating basic research advances into usable malaria interventions.

They stressed on the need to develop a rapid point-of-care diagnostic test that can be used to detect infection in people without symptoms of malaria, which will become even more important to the eradication effort as malaria becomes less prevalent.

Researchers should find vaccines and other interventions that block the malaria parasite at different stages of its life cycle.

There is a need for understanding in more detail not only the most deadly malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, but also non-falciparum parasite species.

Researchers should maintain a vigorous, long-term research effort as scientists and public health personnel work to eliminate and eradicate malaria from every part of the globe.

Although these challenges are formidable, the authors concluded that with long-term commitment and sustained effort, malaria radication could be achieved. (ANI)

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