Though malaria is a virtually unknown disease to many in the U.S., it is a global menace that affects upwards of 212 million people annually, killing close to half a million in any given year. In the past, the medical approach to the treatment of malaria has been to prescribe a type of drug called Artemisinin Combination Therapies (ACTs). However, on the eve of World Malaria Day – which falls on the 25th of April each year – the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that it will be starting to test a new anti-malaria vaccine in the fields of Kenya, Ghana and Malawi, beginning in 2018. Though scientists involved with the development of the vaccine have called this "great news,"insisting it will "make a real difference," is this vaccine really necessary, and will it live up to the hype?
Interestingly, on some fronts, the tide has definitely been turning in the war against malaria. In the 15 years from 2000 to 2015, there was a 62 percent reduction in the number of people dying from malaria, as well as a 41 percent reduction in the total number of diagnoses. This has largely been due to the hard work of NGOs and other groups on the ground who have been educating people about avoiding the disease by using mosquito nets and other control measures, making people more aware of the symptoms of the disease so that they can get treatment sooner, and distributing more medication to nations in need.