Health Experts Think We Could Eradicate Malaria by 2050: Brainstorm Health

September 9, 2019, 9:57 PM UTC

Hello and happy Monday, readers! I hope you had a wonderful weekend.

There’s a silver lining to a slew of unfortunate, recent public health news.

The world could very well eradicate malaria—a mosquito-borne infectious disease that killed nearly 430,000 people in 2015 alone and produced nearly 200 million cases across 87 countries in 2017—by 2050, according to a new report from public health experts. But the effort would require about $2 billion (per year) in funding for malaria prevention and treatment programs.

The study/joint commentary in the Lancet doesn’t mince words on the enormity of the task. But researchers said malaria could well join the ranks of small pox, when it comes to disease eradication, if on-the-ground treatment and prevention efforts get things right.

“For too long, malaria eradication has been a distant dream, but now we have evidence that malaria can and should be eradicated by 2050,” said Sir Richard Feachem, co-chair of the Lancet Commission on malaria eradication and global health director at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), in a statement.

“This report shows that eradication is possible within a generation. But to achieve this common vision, we simply cannot continue with a business as usual approach. The world is at a tipping point, and we must instead challenge ourselves with ambitious targets and commit to the bold action needed to meet them.”

This is a tricky field—one filled with semantics and setbacks. Declaring a region free or eradicated of a disease could have a very specific meaning (for example, not observing new cases for a set period of time, rather than completely “eliminating” infections) that the general public may not be attuned to.

And as the scientists themselves admit, disease elimination has proved a tug-of-war challenge. You don’t even have to look far from home to see it. But it’s an encouraging development nonetheless.

Read on for the day’s news.

Sy Mukherjee, @the_sy_guy,


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