Will Malaria be eradicated by 2040?

Efforts to eliminate Malaria continues to exist in the present day, and the methods to combat the disease was discussed in detail by the professor at Aberystwyth University, Chris Thomas, and Faith Osier of Oxford University.

They concluded that a one-size-fits-all policy would be ineffective in negating Malaria, as mosquitoes continue to develop resistance to contemporary scientific measures.

Thomas said, “They’re [mosquitoes] adapted and evolved to feed on us, and that makes them superb transmitters of this parasite.”

The need for a vaccine was clearly expressed in the discussion, yet Thomas and Osier keenly emphasised the importance of monitoring the disease, particularly considering previous false dawns. Osier illustrated the need to go beyond finding a vaccine, citing the need for long-term surveillance as one vaccine won't be sufficient to treat patients.  

She said, "The parasite adapts, even when we get a vaccine, you’re going to have to monitor it.”

She continued, “The parasite is going to adapt even to the vaccine, and one has to think beyond eradication and into long-term surveillance.”

In their concluding remarks, and having analysed several efforts of fighting Malaria, the pair stated that they were optimistic of eradicating the disease in the future.

Thomas said, “By 2040 we might have eradicated Malaria from the world, and if we do, that would be one of humanity’s greatest achievements.”

Pictured: Faith Osier

If you are interested in Medicine, also see a discussion on mental health at 8.30 pm, 31 May. If you like watching Hay Festival events digitally, please sign up to the Hay Player for more from the world’s greatest thinkers.

Photo by Marsha Arnold