SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2016

Congo scientists join the fight against malaria

The Government of Congo recently announced that it would be partnering with Vietnam for the development and production of new drug treatments against malaria.

Scientists in Congo will research a specific plant that has antimalarial properties. Congo and Vietnam will collaborate to cultivate the plant and develop its properties into viable drugs against the mosquito-borne illness. The draft decree was approved by the Government of Congo and work will begin immediately.

The World Health Organization recently released a report highlighting progress made in the fight against malaria since 2000. The WHO reported that malaria mortality rates have decreased by 45 percent globally and 49 percent in Africa with the introduction of antimalarial drugs.

Global funding has also increased to help eradicate the disease, which threatens the lives of 3.4 billion people across the world. The increase in funding has helped make malaria drug research and development possible, but the WHO said that the fight is not over.

"This remarkable progress is no cause for complacency: absolute numbers of malaria cases and deaths are not going down as fast as they could," WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan said. "The fact that so many people are infected and dying from mosquito bites is one of the greatest tragedies of the 21st century."