"Malaria is a huge worldwide problem infecting from 300 to 500 million people a year and killing more than a million worldwide," Siegel said. "In the U.S. we don't give it the attention it deserves. The new vaccine is very exciting, and highly worthy of our attention and support."
Two other reports in the same journal issue looked at the effectiveness of malaria drugs in different parts of the world.
In one report, researchers wanted to see if there were new strains of malaria resistant to artesunate, a common drug used to treat the disease. For the study, 56 people in Cambodia given the anti-malaria drug artesunate responded to treatment, indicating there were no strains of malaria resistant to the drug, the researchers said.
In the second report, 482 children with malaria in Papua New Guinea were randomly assigned to a combination of anti-malaria drugs. The researchers found that the most effective pairing was the combination of artemether-lumefantrine, which had a response rate of 95.2 percent against the malaria strain, called P. falciparum.
And in a report published online Dec. 8 in The Lancet, researchers found that the rectal application of artesunate was effective in treating children with malaria. The rectal application could be important because in severe cases of malaria patients cannot swallow or keep medicine down.
For more on malaria, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
SOURCES: Dec. 8, 2008, teleconference with Christian Loucq, M.D., director, PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative; Salim Abdulla, M.D., Ph.D., leader, Bagamoyo Branch, Ifakara
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