Malaria Disease

Malaria Disease

Malaria Disease

What is Malaria?

  • Malaria is a life-threatening mosquito-borne blood disease caused by plasmodium parasites.
  • There are 5 Plasmodium parasite species that cause malaria in humans, and two of these species—P. falciparum and P. vivax—pose the greatest threat.
  • Malaria is predominantly found in the tropical and subtropical areas of Africa, South America as well as Asia.
  • Malaria is spread by the bite of an infected female Anopheles mosquito.
  • The mosquito becomes infected after biting an infected person. The malaria parasites then enter the bloodstream of the next person the mosquito bites. The parasites travel to the liver, mature, and then infect red blood cells.
  • Symptoms of malaria include fever and flu-like illness, including shaking, chills, headache, muscle aches, and tiredness. Notably, malaria is both preventable and curable.

India’s Malaria Scenario

  • In 2022, India accounted for a staggering 66% of malaria cases in the WHO South-East Asia Region.
  • Plasmodium vivax, a protozoal parasite, contributed to almost 46% of cases in the region.
  • Despite a 55% reduction in cases since 2015, India remains a significant contributor to the global malaria burden.
  • India faces challenges, including a surge in cases in 2023 linked to unseasonal rainfall.
  • India and Indonesia accounted for about 94% of all malaria deaths in the WHO South-East Asia Region.

Regional Impact

  • Africa bears the highest malaria burden, accounting for 94% of cases and 95% of global malaria deaths in 2022.
  • The WHO South-East Asia Region, including India, managed to contain malaria over the last two decades, with a 77% reduction in cases and deaths since 2000.

Climate Change and Malaria

  • Climate change emerges as a major driver, affecting malaria transmission and overall burden.
  • Changing climate conditions enhance the sensitivity of the malaria pathogen and vector, facilitating its spread.
  • WHO emphasizes the substantial risk climate change poses to malaria progress, necessitating sustainable and resilient responses.

Global Eradication Goals

  • WHO aimed to reduce malaria incidence and mortality rates by 75% in 2025 and 90% in 2030.
  • The world is off-track, with a 55% gap for 2025 incidence reduction and 53% for fatality rate reduction.

Challenges in Malaria Eradication

  • Funding gaps for malaria control increased from USD 2.3 billion in 2018 to USD 3.7 billion in 2022.
  • Research and development funding hit a 15-year low at USD 603 million, raising concerns about innovation and progress.

Call for Action

  • WHO emphasizes the need for a substantial pivot in the fight against malaria, calling for increased resources, strengthened political commitment, data-driven strategies, and innovative tools.
  • Sustainable and resilient malaria responses aligning with climate change mitigation efforts are deemed essential for progress.

Malaria Vaccine Advancements and Achievements


Mosquirix or RTS,S/ASO1 (RTS.S), which was endorsed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) is the first and only vaccine shown to have the capability of significantly reducing malaria.

  • This is the first malaria vaccine that has completed the clinical development process and acts against Plasmodium falciparum.
  • Mosquirix provides short-term protection that could potentially save lives in the age group most at risk from malaria.
  • Mosquirix also helps protect against infection of the liver with the hepatitis B virus but should not be used only for this purpose.
  • The active substance in Mosquirix is made up of proteins found on the surface of the P. falciparum parasites and the Hepatitis B Virus.
  • The vaccine thus limits the ability of the parasites to mature in the liver.
  • Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes, and the disease is preventable and curable.
  • WHO has recommended that the RTS,S/AS01 malaria vaccine be used for the prevention of P. falciparum.

Related Links:

Sickle Cell DiseaseH5N1 Bird Flu
World Health Organisation (WHO)Drugs and Magic Remedies Act 1954