- The Institute
- Travel & Vaccines
Recently it was reported that the World Health Organisation WHO in its official communications substantially underestimates the number of malaria fatalities. These were not 655,000 per year as noted by WHO but 1.2 millions instead. Unfortunately, misjudgements of this kind is in the nature of things: In regions where children die from malaria health care is poor, otherwise they would be treated in time and not die. Accordingly, there are no reliable estimates of fatalities in these parts of the world, and one should be very cautious as to the accuracy of such numbers. Anyway, they are disturbingly high and once again confirm the urgent need to develop efficient control measures.
One of the main problems in developing a vaccine against malaria – just as with other infections – is short-lived protection. An important requirement for a broad application is therefore not fulfilled, namely the generation of immunological memory.
In contrast to humans malaria parasites are able to synthesise a number of vitamins themselves, for instance vitamin B6, which are vitally important for them as well.
Patients with malaria often are dehydrated and require infusions. The reasons are several fold.
To be honest scientists don't have the faintest idea about what is happening although it presumably is the most frequent single cause of death for infants worldwide – severe malaria anaemia.
The human body can weaken the immune response to infection in order to prevent organ damage by fierce inflammatory reactions.
Malaria parasites transport certain proteins onto the surface of red blood cells they infect, and make these bind to the walls of small blood vessels.
Although it is believed for more than a century, one couldn't be sure. Now we succeeded to film a malaria parasite inside a red blood cell in 3D.