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World Malaria Day

World Malaria Day

World Malaria Day is observed globally on 25 April to recognize and celebrate worldwide efforts to control and raise awareness about malaria.

In 2019, the annual event has activities and a campaign around the theme "Zero Malaria Starts with Me”.

Every year, World Malaria Day marks an opportunity for local and global public health organisations to engage with civil society, private sector, academic institutions, and global leaders in ramping up and fighting to eradicate the life-threatening disease entirely.

Progress in Malaria treatment:

1. Gene Drive

  • Gene Drive is a method of introducing a modified gene variant into a swarm of gene-edited mosquitoes that eventually makes subsequent generations of mosquitos with gene-edited parents, sterile.
  • In regions where cases of malaria are very high, the mosquitos, specifically the female Anopheles mosquitoes responsible for carrying malaria-causing parasites from infected to healthy people, reproduce rapidly.
  • The gene drive is a clever use of gene-editing technology to make these noxious malaria-causing mosquitoes sterile.
  • Over many years, the gene drive could lead to mosquitoes being eradicated entirely (which sounds undeniably pleasant) but could cause irreversible changes to the natural ecosystem.

2. RTS-S

  • As the WHO marks World Malaria Day, April 25, Malawi has launched the pilot phase of Africa's first ever malaria vaccine.
  • Known as RTS-S, the vaccine is only helpful for children younger than 2 who receive four doses, at the ages of 5 months, 6 months, 7 months and 22 months.
  • It took more than 30 years and nearly $1 billion to develop a vaccine against malaria.

How is Malaria caused?

  • Malaria is a life-threatening vector-borne disease caused by parasites of the genus Plasmodium.
  • The parasites spread via the bite of a female Anopheles mosquito (also called Marsh Mosquito) that has been already infected with the malarial parasite.
  • The initial symptoms of the infection generally include fever, headache, and chills.
  • Children suffering from this condition may also develop a few other symptoms such as severe anaemia, respiratory distress, and cerebral malaria.

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