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Hope for hundreds of thousands – now the Malaria-vaccination

for More than three decades of vaccine, "RTS has been developed, S" Malaria – now he finally comes. In the context of the world's first pilot test should be vaccinated in Malawi, Ghana and Kenya to 2022, each year, around 360'000 small children against the dangerous disease. Because they are, by far, the most affected age group: children under five years of age make up nearly two-thirds of the deaths.

Malaria is transmitted by the Anopheles mosquito, the zusticht especially at night, and causes fever, anemia, and neurological problems. Although there is medication to control it, however, these are not widely accessible. And if left untreated, the disease can be rapidly fatal. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people die of the consequences.

most Common infectious disease in the world

How many victims it exactly, is difficult to quantify. "Deaths from Malaria are of all the most difficult," says the world health organization (WHO). Because in many countries, where the disease is widespread, the data collection systems are rudimentary. In addition, there are many diseases, which would are similar to Malaria and led to confusion.

The WHO estimates that the number of Malaria deaths has fallen in recent years. According to the latest Figures, there were 2017 but still 435'000 victims, almost half a Million. 266'000 or 61 percent of them were under 5-Year-old, that means: Every two minutes a child dies of this preventable and curable disease.

Other estimates are much higher, for example, those of the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), a research institution at the University of Washington in Seattle. According to the IHME Malaria is one of the main reasons for child mortality. Every eleventh child, the lost of 2017, his life, fell victim to illness.

Overall, the IHME estimates the number of worldwide Malaria deaths to almost 620'000 per year. From 1990 to peak in 2004 with nearly a Million victims, it noted a strong increase, since then the Numbers go down as the WHO. Nevertheless, Malaria is still the most common infectious disease in the world.

the WHO and the IHME come to different results, is due to Differences in the methodology and the sources used. Regardless of the procedure used for the data collection, however, is clear: Malaria is one of the biggest Killer in the history of mankind. Alone in the period 2010-2017 died, according to the estimates, between 4 and 5.6 million people. Since the beginning of civilization, it could be billions.

Because the tropical disease has been around for Thousands of years. Researchers suspect that the pathogen was originally transferred from Gorillas to humans. The earliest reports of malaria epidemics originate from the Ancient Egyptians. In about 3000 years old Indian writings, the "Queen of the diseases appeared" as well. Historians believe that Malaria is widespread in the ancient world around the Mediterranean sea, and later even one of the decisive factors for the downfall of the Roman Empire.

In Central Europe was spreading the disease until well into the twentieth century. Also in Switzerland, she disappeared with the draining of the swamp areas in the Seeland or in the linth plain. Long as you don't know how widespread it is. Only in 1902, the British military doctor Ronald Ross, realized that Malaria is transmitted by mosquitoes. This earned him the Nobel prize.

The most dangerous Malaria-causative agent: The protozoan parasite Plasmodium falciparum is transmitted by the Anopheles mosquito. (Image: )

Now with "RTS,S" is another "historic milestone" reached, as formulated by Steve Davis, boss of British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline. His company developed the new vaccine with the trade name Mosquirix. He is effective against the most dangerous pathogens in Africa widespread parasite Plasmodium falciparum, which is transmitted by the Anopheles mosquito.

The vaccination protects, however, incomplete. In clinical Tests, with around 15'000 children in seven countries, Mosquirix prevented only about 40 percent of the disease, and about 30 percent of the severe cases of Malaria. Nevertheless, it is the so far most effective and the most advanced vaccine. According to the estimates of scientists, he could save hundreds of thousands of lives, if it is used on a large scale.

"The rise in infections is a massive Wake-up call."Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO-chief

Until now, have tried the WHO and other organisations, and Malaria through a combination of various means of curbing. As the most important protection measure is to apply insecticide to mosquito nets treated. In addition, there are prophylactic drugs that are supposed to make people immune to the consequences of a relevant mosquito pass. In the last years, great progress has been made, but recently the fight against Malaria has Stalled.

in 2017, the WHO has registered 219 million cases and, thus, for the second Time in a row, an increase in infections. Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus spoke of a "massive Wake-up call". There is a need for new solutions now, the new vaccine is a promising means for it.

The distribution of the vaccine to the WHO in front of great challenges. Because children need to get up to your third year of four injections, in order to be protected. Many live in remote areas. More than 90 percent of all illnesses and deaths occur in Africa.

most of Nigeria and the democratic Republic of the Congo are affected. They complained in the year 2017, a good 30 per cent of all Malaria deaths. Outside Africa, the disease is mainly in India very present. Also, in many countries in Southeast Asia as well as Central and South America, the grass you are magnetized.

in Spite of the high danger of Malaria in the affected areas of Africa, WHO was asleep, according to 2017, only about half of the population under insecticide-treated mosquito net. In addition, still have to little Pregnant women have access to prophylactic drugs. Therefore, the hope of the new vaccine, which is a huge potential is attributed to.

The campaign in Malawi, Ghana and Kenya should only be the beginning. The global Malaria programme of the WHO includes countries from India to Brazil. Also in Mozambique, an Initiative has been launched, after on 21. April the cyclone Kenneth, severe Floods caused. In mid-March, it was reported after the cyclone Idai is an increase of Malaria cases.

leading role of Switzerland

no one should die of a disease, the available treatments cured: the principle of WHO is. In order to reach your goal of the eradication of Malaria, it can also rely on local Know-how: Switzerland has a long and successful history in the study of Malaria.

For more than seventy years, the tropical research and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH), universities and pharmaceutical companies, the tropical disease. For twenty years, the international "Medicines for Malaria Venture is pushing ahead" with Swiss participation in the development of drugs. Thanks to the partnership of eleven new malaria drugs to be developed, wrote the Swiss Malaria Group last Thursday for world Malaria day.

efforts should now be strengthened, once again, faced with the upsurge of the infections. Otherwise, the global objective is at risk, "" to eliminate Malaria by 2030.

*the Material of SDA (editor-in-Tamedia)

Created: 30.04.2019, 18:07 PM

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