Combatting Plasmodium falciparum malaria in endemic settings: vaccination should complement rather than devalue low-technology interventions

Document Type : Editorials


1 College of Health Sciences, VinUniversity, Gia Lam District, Hanoi 100000, Vietnam

2 Center for Global Health, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 1904, USA


Background: The global health challenge posed by malaria continues to be significant, with 249 million clinical cases documented in 2022, leading to more than 600,000 deaths, primarily among children living in endemic regions. Despite a decline in malaria mortality in the early 2000s, recent trends show a concerning rise in confirmed incidence, surpassing pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels. The imminent widespread introduction of two commercially available vaccines against Plasmodium falciparum marks a pivotal advancement in prevention of this major human pathogen, albeit with moderate concerns over several issues. While first generation versions offer a remarkably promising new tool, they are not the panacea that is the holy grail of infectious disease vaccinology. Until such time, established interventions like insecticide-treated nets and indoor residual spraying remain crucial to malaria control. Challenges persist, including poor distribution and quality of mosquito netting, exacerbated by climate change impacts on vector Anopheles species. In order to address these concerns, an integrated modus operandi is needed that combines traditional techniques with innovative strategies. This should emphasize improving net distribution, enhancing surveillance, and tackling mosquito behavioral adaptations. For concerted progress towards global elimination of P. falciparum malaria to be made, it is imperative that in the foreseeable future a multifaceted low-technology approach continues alongside vaccine implementation, rather than be replaced by it.



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