Climate change may play a role in delaying malaria eradication, according to researchers. Changes in temperature and rainfall patterns have been associated with the emergence of malaria in areas where it was previously absent in Ethiopia. Researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine have confirmed the relationship between climate change and mosquito-borne diseases in a recent study.

By Gregg Howald, Advanced Conservation Strategies

According to the IPBES Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, 1 million species around the world are currently threatened with extinction. Invasive species are one of the leading causes of extinctions, which are on the rise, despite the efforts of conservationists.

After three decades of research, the World Health Organisation (WHO) approved the inclusion of the RTS,S/AS01 (RTS,S) vaccine to the current toolbox of interventions to fight malaria in sub-Saharan Africa and other regions with moderate to high P. falciparum malaria transmission.

This is the first-ever malaria vaccine that provides partial protection against the disease in children under five years old. Developed by GSK, the vaccine has been part of a large-scale pilot programme coordinated by WHO in the past couple of years in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi.

Malaria is an age-old disease that despite being preventable and treatable continues to affect the lives of over 200 million people each year. Nearly two-thirds of global deaths from the disease in 2019 were children under five, and mostly concerned the African continent. Over the past few decades, a variety of tools - such as insecticide-treated mosquito nets, indoor residual spraying of homes, rapid diagnostic tests, and new treatments and prophylactics - were successfully added to the arsenal of malaria interventions. Although these tools have enabled incredible progress, it is clear they will not be sufficient to eliminate the disease.

The UK-based charity Comic Relief has launched a new project to enhance awareness of the importance to fight malaria. Mixing science and entertainment, the initiative selected three African filmmakers to reframe the malaria narrative using their creativity to appeal to local audiences while educating the public.