Malaria endemic in 10 Southeast Asia nations

Data presented at an international scientific congress held in India showed that malaria was endemic in 10 Southeast Asian nations, putting the majority of the region’s population at risk for contracting the often deadly mosquito-borne illness.

U.S.N. Murthy, chief scientist of the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology’s Biology Division, announced that 60 percent of people living in Southeast Asia were at risk of infection and approximately 20 percent were at high risk of falling ill, according to TheHindu.com.

Murthy said that India alone contributed 76 percent of the malaria cases from the region, particularly its northeastern states. Murthy’s study is considered unique because the model his team developed to assess malaria incidence included climate change data.

Dr. S.K. Shankar from the Indian National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences stressed the need to establish a system to collect and distribute human brain tissue collected at autopsies for research purposes, TheHindu.com reports.

Shankar said that geographic, ethnic and genetic differences in human biology limit the usefulness of models developed by Western scientists. He stressed the need to identify features unique to the area’s population and said that this was possible only through the development of a “brain bank” as a national research facility.