Malaria is one of the oldest diseases in the world and persists unchecked in many parts globally. Although many steps have been exercised for long to control the scope of this disease, little progress has been made so far. Going by the World Health Organization (WHO) it has been estimated to kill more than 5.5 lakh people annually and remains to be the toughest disease to restrain in the world. Here we discuss why it remains so tricky despite adopting various steps worldwide.
No vaccine found
Scientifically eradicating malaria is a complex task as the four known species of malaria respond very differently to medicines and often exhibit a strong drug resistance. Notwithstanding these obstacles, after 30 years of rigorous research, a vaccine called Mosquirix has been found very recently by the UK-based GlaxoSmithKline. The cost of researching this vaccine has been estimated to be very high around 565 million dollars, which will prove to be a big barrier to popularize it in poor rural areas where the disease has a maximum coverage.
Evades human immunity barriers
Malaria is a single cell parasite that has evolved, over the years, in ways to evade the human immune system. Furthermore, once affected the person can have it for a second, third or more times, which implies that the malaria parasite does not help develop antibodies for future immunity. These two factors make malaria highly unreliable and unpredictable.
Resistant to medicines
The Anopheles mosquito or the mosquito commonly found to spread the disease has been found to be resistant to medicines and DDT sprays after a prolonged exposure. This fact affects critically in the development process for preventive steps and calls for creating a new set of tools or chemical technique to control any further the spread of the disease.
Multi-pronged combat approach
The best strategy to fight malaria is with a good dose of prophylactic drugs, indoor residual spraying along with mosquito nets and medicated bedclothes. These measures, however, are never enough until and unless it is lined with proper education. Education implies the instructions or knowledge to recognize the initial symptoms of malaria and stopping it from turning to be a rampant killer. It helps people prevent open stagnant water areas and adopt ways of preventing the spread of the disease any further. However, this factor can be easily familiarized and achieved in urban areas but not in the case of rural areas.
Vicious cycle of transmission
Malaria continues to exist in areas with a vicious combination of high-density human population, high-density mosquito population and high rates of transmission between humans to mosquitoes and vice versa. Resisting any one of these factors will break the evil cycle and cause it to disappear from that area. But, such a step requires a charted course of action and calls for assistance from various vector heads, which are difficult to synchronize and administer in a less developed or developing economy effectively.