New in the Research World? One of the most important
recent advances in malaria research is the mapping of
the Plasmodium falciparum genome. This is a project
that involves scientists from several different institutions
in collaboration. More details may be found here.
About Vector Biology and Control? Some of the
most interesting recent vector biology and control research
uses Geographic Information Systems [GIS] and Global Positioning
System [GPS] data to analyze distribution and abundance
of malaria vectors. This data can be used at both local
and national levels to target malaria vector control efforts
appropriately and utilize resources effectively.
About a Vaccine? A malaria vaccine is the 'Holy
Grail' of medicine. Although trials are being conducted
of a few different formulations of potential malaria vaccines,
none have yet proven to be both safe and effective. Existing
vaccines are against viral and bacterial diseases. Because
malaria is caused by a protozoan,
there are some difficulties in developing an effective
malaria vaccine. The immune response to malaria is somewhat
different than the immune response to viral diseases such
as chickenpox. Immunity to malaria is only partial, whereas
immunity to some viral and bacterial diseases is complete.
This presents difficulties in vaccine development.
What Now? For the next five to ten years, until
an effective vaccine is developed, malaria control will
largely be dependent on vector control measures such as
improvements in housing construction, source reduction,
impregnated bednets, and residual insecticide treatment.