Updated on 17 September 2012
The development resulted from an unusual interdisciplinary collaboration between two groups of biologists at UC San Diego - one from the Division of Biological Sciences and San Diego Center for Algae Biotechnology, which had been engineering algae to produce bio-products and biofuels, and another from the Center for Tropical Medicine and Emerging Infectious Diseases in the School of Medicine that is working to develop ways to diagnose, prevent and treat malaria, reported ScienceDaily.
Similarly progress has been achieved in R&D related to developing vaccine against malaria from scientists from developed and developing world. According to Malaria Vaccine Road Map, over 300 scientists and experts representing 100 organizations from 35 countries having been working on to address challenges that are impacting the long term goal of eradication of malaria.
According to the World Malaria Report 2011, there has been reduction in reported malaria cases of more than 50 percent between 2000 and 2010 in 43 of 99 countries with ongoing transmission, while downward trends of 25-to-50 percent were seen in 8 other countries. There were an estimated 216 million episodes of malaria in 2010, of which approximately 81 percent, or 174 million cases, were in the African Region.
There were an estimated 655 000 malaria deaths in 2010, of which 91 percent were in Africa. Approximately 86 percent of malaria deaths globally were of children under five years of age. The estimated incidence of malaria globally has reduced by 17 percent since 2000 and malaria-specific mortality rates by 26 percent. These rates of decline are lower than internationally agreed targets for 2010 (reductions of 50 percent) but nonetheless, they represent a major achievement.
Although there is a drop in the reported cases of malaria, it still represents one of the most pressing global public health problems. Every year, malaria kills more than 1.2 million people globally according to the latest estimates (Lancet, 379, 413-431, 2012). Hence scientists need many tools to defeat this disease - tools that save lives today and those with the potential to save lives in the future.