New strategies needed for elimination of malaria

Jyoti Singh New Delhi | Updated on September 26, 2019

Dignitaries present at the 30th National Congress of Parasitology

India has the third highest malaria burden in the world and it contributes the largest number of cases and deaths in the South-East Asia region. New strategies are needed for elimination of malaria as the occurrence of the disease is undergoing changes, experts have suggested.

Earlier most malaria cases were due to Plasmodium falciparum parasite but new studies shows that Plasmodium vivax is also causing new infections and severe manifestation of the disease. This has emerged from a study done by researchers from S P Medical College Rajasthan and BITS Pilani.

It is Plasmodium falciparum that is considered to be more deadly but in the past few years Plasmodium vivax has also taken a deadly form. This has been reported from Rajasthan. Some few years back Plasmodium malariae has also been reported in Orissa.

“There is a change in the spectrum of disease. Previously cerebral malaria was common but now there is kidney and liver involvement also. Even symptoms of acute respiratory stress syndrome are there. Fatalities are more when there is more than one severe manifestation,” said Dr Sanjay Kumar Kochar from S.P. Medical College while speaking to India Science Wire on the sidelines of the National Congress of Parasitology which began here today.

He said Plasmodium vivax was being overlooked because mostly it causes symptoms similar to those of falciparum and it was being missed.

The government has developed the National Framework for Malaria Elimination by 2030. Elimination is defined by the WHO as interruption of local transmission or reduction to zero incidences of indigenous cases of malaria parasite species in a defined geographic area. This goal cannot be achieved in Asia or globally without India making substantial progress. There is a decline in the number of malaria cases but the problem is still there as it is a multi-factorial disease.

“We need to have effective resistance-free drugs. It would be good if we can have some personalized drugs for malaria too. Surveillance on the parasite site is another important aspect where we need to keep an eye. We are just making efforts to keep track of P. falciparum and P. vivax but like in Odisha we are facing a species new to India Plasmodium malariae” said Dr. Shailja Singh, Associate Professor at Special Centre for Molecular Medicine, Jawaharlal Nehru University.

The 30th National Congress of Parasitology and Global Summit on Malaria Elimination is being jointly organized by the Special Centre for Molecular Medicine, Jawaharlal Nehru University and the Indian Society for Parasitology.

(India Science Wire)

Twitter: @ashajyoti11

Published on September 26, 2019

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