Current control and treatment of malaria

Once diagnosis of malaria has occurred, it is important that treatment should happen quickly. It is recommended that if the treatment is going to be fully effective, it should be started 24 hours after the symptoms occurred. The information below is the current methods of control and treatment of malaria and future developments for a universal vaccine.

 

Antimalarial drugs

One key issue to highlight in the treatment of malaria is the growing level of drug resistance to antimalarial drugs. This can be linked to artemisinin-based monotherapy not being effective as some patients may stop treatment prematurely because their symptoms have decreased. Although this is a positive sign, there still may be parasites in the patient’s blood which can then be fed on by a mosquito and the infection can be transmitted to another person.
This is a main problem with one of the most frequently recommended antimalarial drugs chloroquine. This is usually advised as treatment of uncomplicated malaria and can be used by sufferers at home for self-treatment. Again, improvements are seen in the symptoms of the sufferer but the parasite is not removed from the blood which increases risk of passing on malaria.
The most effective treatment for malaria is ACT- artemisinin- based combination therapy. As seen in the diagram below, there are many different forms of antimalarial drug treatments and combinations. The key treatments have been listed under what form of malaria they can treat and control.

Vector control.

Community based prevention such as indoor residual insecticide spraying and insecticide- treated bed nets also play a key part in controlling the spread of malaria. These forms of malaria prevention are most effective when protecting against indoor feeding mosquitos which are said to be highly responsible for malaria transmission in Africa.
Following problems with insecticide treated nets losing their protective treatments after washing, more effective nets have now been produced with insecticide included in the netting, making them more resilient and protective. It is hoped that the distribution of long lasting insecticide treatments will increase and be free or highly subsidized by public health services. The link below is a full statement from the WHO Global Malaria Programme on the guidance of reducing malaria through Insecticide treated bed nets.

Environment management is another factor in vector control of malaria. Reducing the environments where the mosquito can survive reduces the risk of transmission from mosquito to human.

Fogging or spraying an area which kills mosquitos when they come into contact with an insecticide in the air may also prevent transmission.


Vaccination
In recent years, there have been large investments in creating a vaccine for malaria. In 2006, the Malaria Vaccine Technology Roadmap was launched that aimed towards developing a malaria vaccine by 2025 that would protect 80% of people against the clinical disease and provide long lasting protection of up to 4 years. A more current aim is to provide a first generation vaccine by 2015 which would protect 50% against severe disease and would provide protection for one year.

(WHO, 2010;Trape et al., 2002;Greenwood, 2008;The Malaria Vaccine Technology Roadmap, 2006)

 

Below is an RSS feed from the UN Refugee Agency which will give you access to news on malaria prevention and control.

 

True-False Question
Please complete this short true or false quiz after reading this section to test your knowledge on control and treatment of malaria.


1. The most effective form of antimalarial drug is chloroquine.

True False


2. Fogging is the most effective form of vector control

True False


3. It is hoped that the first generation malaria vaccine will protect an individual for 1 year.

True False