Early in my career, I was galvanized by a disease that ravaged my country and many others around the world: malaria.
Malaria kills half a million people each year, mostly children in tropical Africa. The price tag for eradicating the disease is estimated at more than $100 billion over 15 years.
Researchers the world over are fast adopting CRISPR-Cas9 to tinker with the genomes of humans, viruses, bacteria, animals and plants. Nature brings together research, reporting and expert opinion to keep you abreast of the frontiers of gene editing.
Report concludes new technologies could save lives from diseases such as malaria, but says development is slowed by inadequate regulatory system
A groundbreaking but controversial new gene-editing technology is accelerating a push to eradicate malaria, with scientists recently identifying two ways to block mosquitoes from transmitting the killer disease.
To exterminate a living species by accident is normally frowned on. To do so deliberately might thus seem an extraordinary sin. But if that species is Plasmodium falciparum, the sin may be excused. This parasitic organism causes the most deadly form of malaria. Together with four cousins, it is responsible for about 450,000 deaths a year, and the ruination of the lives of millions more people who survive the initial crisis of disease. Besides the direct suffering this causes, the lost human potential is enormous. The Gates Foundation, an American charity, reckons that eradicating malaria would bring the world $2 trillion of benefits by 2040.
This will be a decisive year for malaria. From the jungles of the Greater Mekong or the urban shanties of Haiti, new tools and tactics are being used to counter the spread of the disease and to alleviate its huge economic and human costs.
WHO is calling on the global health community to urgently address significant gaps in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of malaria. Despite dramatic declines in malaria cases and deaths since 2000, more than half a million lives are still lost to this preventable disease each year.
Dr Fatoumata Nafo-Traore, the Executive Director of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership talks aboutmalaria. Dr. Nafo-Traore has more than 25 years of experience in public health, both in her native country Mali and at the international level.
UNICEF’s ‘Facts about Malaria and Children’ shows the extensive impact of the disease on children and on pregnant women around the world. This year’s World Malaria Day theme is “Invest in the future: Defeat Malaria”. UNICEF will be issuing messages on social media for World Malaria Day 2015 with the hashtag #defeatmalaria