Malaria Prevention Programs Save Millions of Lives

FDA approved Artesunate for injection to treat severe malaria in adult and pediatric patients
Geneva (Vax Before Travel)

The 2020 edition of the World Malaria Report looks back at key events and milestones that helped shape the global response to the disease over the last 20 years, says the World Health Organization (WHO).

During these 2 decades, about 1.5 billion cases and 7.6 million deaths related to malaria were averted.

This year’s report, which was published on November 30, 2020, also features a special section on malaria and the COVID-19 pandemic and a detailed analysis on progress towards the 2020 milestones of WHO’s global malaria strategy.

As in past years, this WHO report includes an up-to-date assessment of malaria's burden at global, regional, and country levels. It tracks investments in malaria programs and research and progress across all intervention areas: prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and surveillance. 

There are also dedicated chapters on malaria elimination and key threats, such as insecticide and drug resistance.

The report is based on information received from national malaria control programs and other partners in 87 malaria-endemic countries; most of the data presented is from 2019.

Every year, millions of US residents travel to countries where malaria is present. About 2,000 cases of malaria are diagnosed in the USA annually, mostly in returned travelers, says the U.S. CDC.

Travelers to sub-Saharan Africa have the greatest risk of both getting malaria and dying from their infection. However, all travelers to countries where malaria is present may be at risk for infection.

Previously, during May 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the approval of Artesunate for injection to treat severe malaria in adult and pediatric patients. 

This is important news since there was no FDA-approved drug to treat severe malaria in the USA since the manufacturer discontinued quinidine marketing in March 2019.

“This approval will now give patients more access to a lifesaving drug,” said John Farley, M.D., acting director of the Office of Infectious Diseases in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

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