The Silent Pandemic--Malaria

The general public knows little about this ongoing tragedy. The  World Health Organization knows about it, and some wealthy philanthropists (Bill and Miranda Gates Foundation) fund vaccine efforts for Malaria and HIV/AIDS.  Great progress has been made against HIV/AIDS when funds become available for these efforts.

Culex Larva growing in water, developing into mosquitoes
which transmits the Plasmodium parasite,

Malaria is a life-threatening disease transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes. In 2018 alone there were 228 million cases and 405,000 deaths worldwide, affecting mostly children under five years of age. Scientists have long been looking for an effective vaccine, but haven’t yet been able to produce one.

Culex and Plasmodia have a complex life cycle, the mosquito, and a vector and warm-blooded animals as a host.

As weird as it seems, spit actually seems to play a big role in how blood-sucking bugs transmit infections to humans (or other animals) that they feed on.

Red blood cells with an intracellular plasmodium parasite. (see life cycle video above)

Malaria vaccines have been developed in the past, with varying results. 1,2,3,4

Malaria is predominant in Africa, however certain genetic mutations that cause sickle cell anemia afford resistance to the parasite. The gene is most prevalent in people of African descent.

A new malaria vaccine made from the rodent malaria parasite is effective in humans