April 24, 2021

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New malaria vaccine first to reach WHO efficacy demand (Deutsche-Welle, 4/24/21)

Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. There are five parasite species that cause malaria in humans, and two of these species -- P. falciparum and P. vivax -- pose the biggest threat.

It causes a wide range of symptoms including fever, headache, malaise, gastrointestinal issues, back pain, coughing, and neurologic complaints like dizziness, confusion and coma.

There were an estimated 229 million cases of malaria worldwide in 2019, according to the WHO, and a disproportionately large share of the malaria burden falls on Africa, where 94% of malaria cases and deaths occurred in 2019. Children under the age of five account for 67% of all malaria deaths worldwide.

People who live where there is a lot of malaria and get infected repeatedly as they grow up can naturally develop some level of immunity.

"It's not fully protective immunity, it's not that you never catch malaria again, but you don't get as severe symptoms and severe outcomes," Rayner told DW. "That's why the majority of severe cases are in young children because those who have survived long enough and are older have developed that natural immunity."

Posted by at April 24, 2021 12:00 AM

  

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