Global Warming Fuelling the Need for Malaria Vaccine

by Hannah Punitha on Jul 13 2008 5:24 PM

Global warming has led to a rapid increase in the number of malaria cases, thereby fuelling the need for lifesaving vaccinations to those in need, says an expert.

Experts fear that the drastic changes in the climate may further increase the number of cases in the coming years.

"Forty-one percent of the human race lives in areas of high malaria transmission," said Dr. Sylvain Fleury, Chief Scientific Officer at Mymetics, a Swiss vaccine biotech currently developing a vaccine with the potential to control malaria in developing countries.

"Because Europe, North America, and North Asia are now significantly colder than regions of high malaria incidence, developed nations have felt immune from the malaria threat, but that sense may soon be upended," Fleury added.

Studies have shown that even a modest temperature increase can extend the proliferation of malaria-bearing mosquitoes.

Therefore, as temperatures rise, billions of people could find themselves living in regions of high malaria incidence.

"The best way to prevent the spread of malaria into warming areas of the globe is to find a solution before the situation worsens," said Dr. Fleury.

"If we can begin to curb the spread of malaria in high threat areas, the eventual reach of the disease will be seriously limited," he added.

Due to global warming malaria has already returned to the areas such as eru that had already eradicated the disease forty years ago.

America saw 1,337 cases, including eight deaths, as recently as 2002 - the importance of developing a vaccine for the disease is becoming more and more urgent.