In an editorial in this weeks JAMA, Gianna Zuccotti, M.D., Contributing Editor, and Catherine D. DeAngelis, M.D., M.P.H., Editor in Chief, JAMA, comment on the status of malaria in the world today.
"Malaria remains a leading cause of morbidity and mortality globally. An estimated 3 billion individuals live in areas of risk and the disease causes more than 1 million deaths annually. Even in the United States, where endemic malaria has been eradicated for decades, an average of 1,200 cases are reported annually. The articles in this issue of JAMA on malaria address a number of important issues, including the financial and logistic challenges of implementing new technologies for disease prevention and diagnosis; improvement in understanding risk factors and disease severity, particularly in children; and treatment and surveillance approaches in the face of evolving drug resistance."
"Notably, few submitted manuscripts for this theme issue on malaria evaluated completely novel approaches to the management of this ancient disease. There likely will be a role for vaccine development in disease prevention, but new drugs appear to be few and far between. The recent sequencing of the P falciparum genome may ultimately offer new possibilities for therapeutic approaches, as might mosquito-based approaches such as those outlined in the news story by Friedrich in this issue of JAMA. Currently none of these approaches seems advanced enough for routine broad-based application. The articles in this issue of JAMA highlight the need for improved public health infrastructures and to make the current standard of care more widely available."