Malaria drug therapy hailed

Giving children in malaria endemic countries a monthly injection against the illness could save the lives of thousands every year, according to a recently released report.

Scientists from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine conducting research in Africa and the United Kingdom said that seasonal malaria chemoprevention could prevent 11 million malaria cases and approximately 50,000 deaths annually, according to

"We have identified two large areas of Africa where monthly [SMC] could be an effective addition to existing approaches that reduce exposure to mosquitoes," Dr. Matt Cairns of the LSHTM said, reports. "If this control measure could be deployed widely it could prevent many millions of cases of malaria and tens of thousands of deaths every year."

The LSHTM study was recently published online in the journal Nature Communications. It said that malaria is a particular problem during and immediately after annual rainy seasons. The researchers predict that providing monthly courses of an inexpensive antimalarial drug during the transmission season could prevent approximately 80 percent of severe and uncomplicated cases.

Currently, anti-insecticides and bed netting are the primary deterrent used to combat malaria infection.

"Providing insecticide-treated nets is an important way of protecting children from malaria, but in some areas it isn't enough - children need additional methods of protection," Cairns said, reports.