Malaria is transmitted from one person to another by mosquitoes. In parts of the world where malaria is endemic, targeting mosquitoes remains one of the best hopes for controlling malaria. Mosquitoes can be controlled by bed-nets treated with insecticides and by spraying homes with insecticides.
Resistance to the widely used antimalarial drug artemisinin is spreading in Southeast Asia and is likely to be around the corner for Africa. It could reach us very quickly or it could emerge locally.
We don’t want to be surprised by it and we don’t want to be banging our heads against the wall trying to figure out how to deal with it when it comes. We need to be prepared.
Can you tell us a bit about the Plasmodium Diversity Network Africa? What made you want to get involved?
Tell me a bit about what you do.
I’m based in Bangkok at the Mathematical and Economic Modelling Unit (MAEMOD), which is part of the Mahidol Oxford Research Unit (MORU). The main work that we do is economic-epidemioloigcal modelling with a focus on mechanistic approaches, and we also do enhanced data analysis.
Malaria causes one in ten of all deaths among children in sub-Saharan Africa, with more than 600,000 dying each year from over 200 million reported cases.
Although the number of deaths is staggeringly high, this is a mortality rate of only 0.3%. Early diagnosis and proper treatment are crucial to prevent death, but it is known that some individuals naturally resist malaria severity.