malaria

Mike Urban / Humansophere

Malaria remains one of the world’s biggest killers and also a massive economic drag on poor countries, poor families.

One of our best weapons against this scourge is a drug known as artemisinin, which is harvested from the plant sweet wormwood and, as a crop, is about as predictable as corn or hog futures.

This week, our colleagues over at the Shots blog have been talking a lot about malaria. And, here at The Salt, that got us thinking about one thing: gin and tonics.

As you probably know, tonic is simply carbonated water mixed with quinine, a bitter compound that just happens to cure a malaria infection, albeit not so well.

By Cyan James, Humanosphere correspondent

A fresh crop of Changemakers has been identified by the Washington Global Health Alliance’s Be the Change student competition. Among the three first place winners was a group of UW students who want to enlist a spider to fight malaria ...

Read more on Humanosphere.

Cyan James

By Cyan James, Humanosphere correspondent

Despite the potential annoyances—hours spent being screened , frequent health checks, irritating bites, painful twice-daily blood draws for weeks, not to mention the slamming headaches and vicious chills of malaria itself—people like Rasberry say being a malaria trials volunteer is worth it.

Read more on Humanosphere.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Technology can triumph over one of the oldest plagues of humanity. That was the underlying theme of Bill Gates’ pep talk to malaria researchers gathered this week in Seattle:

"A key reason I think we will succeed is that we have the ability to innovate. This is really behind most of the improvements in the human condition. Innovation is one of  the most powerful forces in the world. 

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Leaders at the Seattle non-profit group PATH – and their sponsors at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation– say they’re excited about the latest results from a malaria vaccine trial in Africa. The interim results don't guarantee it will be a success, but it’s the best any malaria vaccine has ever done.

Matt Handy / Flickr

Four years ago the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation called for the eradication of malaria. Since then it has spent nearly $2 billion in the effort.

While there has been success, many still wonder: What factors are driving malaria away? What's causing the success? There are also many confounding factors at play ranging from climate change to the mysterious disappearance of mosquitoes in east Africa.

Mike Urban

The World Health Organization has long been worried over reports that mosquitoes were increasingly resistant to chemical-treated bed nets, a mainstay in the Gates Foundation-led, worldwide campaign against malaria.

Now, a study from Senegal raises doubts over Gates’ plant to beat malaria, blaming mosquitoes’ growing resistance to insecticide.

Tom Paulson / Humanosphere

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded its latest set of grants supporting innovative scientific research aimed at solving problems in global health.

The grants, awarded through the Gates Foundation’s $100 million Grand Challenges Exploration program, for this go-round appear to favor novel methods aimed at combating malaria.

Read more.

Centers for Disease Control

One of the big news stories in the malaria world recently is the discovery, announced last week in the journal Science, of a previously unknown type of mosquito that some reports said could threaten malaria control efforts in Africa.

Here’s the problem: Most malaria control efforts in Africa — bednets, spraying — are aimed at preventing mosquitoes from biting humans indoors at night. This newly discovered mosquito, dubbed “Goundry” (after the community in Burkina Faso where it was identified), appears to operate outdoors.

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Photo courtesty Voice of America

One of the problems with saving lives is it’s hard to identify a death averted. Success in disease prevention is often invisible.

You typically can’t say, for example, that 380 cases of malaria, and one death, were prevented in African children for every $1,025 spent on insecticide-treated bed nets last year.

Except now you can.