Worrisome rise in malaria cases: 700,000 victims per year now

The scientific journal Nature has published a long and detailed review about the dramatic increase of malaria cases in the poorest areas of the world, where it is the first cause of death, killing 450,000-700,000 people annually. The most efficient treatments are still artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACT), which sometimes prove inefficient for some new strains of single-celled protozoan parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Indeed, many cases of drug resistance were detected in the five  Mekong countries–Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar–in 2015. A study (Nature) carried out in 2014 by a team from the University of Toulouse, led by Frederic Arye, demonstrated that drug resistance in that area is due to a modification in Kelch 13 gene. WHO and the Mekong States’ governments have co-developed a disease-monitoring plan worth $41bn, plus $20bn donations by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Asian Development Bank. A relevant part of this plan is detecting the protozoon through new diagnostic tools, since those currently available have proven inefficacy in many cases. However, the areas where malaria claims most victims are Congo and the Niger delta, in Africa, with over 90 victims every 100,000 people pa.

(Source: Nature)