World Malaria Day 2023: India Seizes 66% Malaria Reduction
India has significantly progressed towards malaria elimination as the country achieved almost a 66% reduction in its official malaria cases between 2018 and 2022.
Experts have said that India’s vision of becoming malaria-free by 2027 and eliminating the disease by 2030 is possible but there are still critical challenges to overcome.
India has made significant progress in its malaria elimination journey, with a nearly 66% reduction in its official malaria burden between 2018 and 2022. However, the country still accounts for the majority of malaria cases and deaths in the Southeast Asia region.
Challenges to combating malaria in India include disruptions due to COVID-19, potential effects of climate change, humanitarian crisis, health system shortfalls, limited donor funding, and a decline in the effectiveness of primary malaria-fighting tools such as insecticide-treated nets and anti-malarial drug regimens.
To achieve the official elimination certification from the World Health Organization, India must achieve zero transmission of malaria cases by 2027 and sustain such transmission for the subsequent three years till 2030.
While next-generation anti-malarial treatments are being developed, the development of vaccines and novel drugs is crucial to tackle the malaria menace. Repurposing of existing drugs is one such way for faster development of drugs.
The recent approval of another vaccine R21/Matrix, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, for P. falciparum is a significant development. There are also three vaccines in development for P. vivax.
ICGEB scientists in New Delhi have successfully developed and tested experimental recombinant blood stage malaria vaccines in India, with Phase 2(a) efficacy assessment completed in collaboration with Oxford University.
Lack of access to a human challenge model in India has slowed progress in malaria research, hindering vaccine development.
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Controlled Human Malaria Infection studies have the potential to speed up vaccine efficacy assessments and evaluations involving fewer subjects.