Experts have recommended diagnostic and therapeutic interventions for malaria control and elimination in India.
These interventions include screening all fever cases suspected for malaria through malaria microscopy and Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) and adoption of preventive measures like Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs) which is a cost effective and sustainable method for protection against malaria.
The Government is providing these interventions under the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) across the country which includes high burden states like Orissa, Chhatisgarh, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh
To combat devastating effects of Malaria, the NMCP was launched in 1953 built around three key activities – insecticidal residual spray (IRS) with DDT; monitoring and surveillance of cases; and treatment of patients.
“In India, Government at the village level is today providing diagnostic and treatment services to eliminate Malaria by 2030 through ASHA workers like Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDTs) and use of Artemisinin Combination Therapy (ACT), primaquine and chloroquine besides using Long lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) to prevent mosquito bites. Through these interventions, the country has been able to achieve reduction of malaria burden in terms of cases by 84.5 per cent and deaths by 83.6 per cent which has been well recognised by World Malaria Reports of 2018, 2019, and 2020,” according to Dr. A.C. Dhariwal, Former Director, National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) who prepared the “Strategic Plan for Malaria Control in India” over the 12th five year plan period (2012-17) and beyond. The document sets the direction and provides defined timelines for planning and implementation of the national malaria control programme.
To reduce childhood illness and deaths from malaria in children living in sub-Saharan Africa and other regions with moderate to high transmission, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has recently recommended for the broader deployment of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) RTS,S malaria vaccine.
RTS,S is the first and only malaria vaccine to have been shown in pivotal long-term clinical trials to significantly reduce malaria in children. The vaccine is the result of over 30 years of research led by GSK, with PATH and other partners.
Malaria vaccine pilot programmes in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi have shown high impact in real-life childhood vaccination settings, strong community demand and that RTS,S can be effectively delivered through routine child immunization platforms.
Recommendation follows shortly after new data show that RTS,S, in combination with seasonal administration of antimalarials, lowers clinical episodes of malaria, hospital admissions with severe malaria, and deaths by around 70%.
Thomas Breuer, Chief Global Health Officer, GSK, stated in a company release, “GSK is proud that RTS,S, our ground-breaking malaria vaccine, developed over decades by our teams and partners, can now be made available to children in sub-Saharan Africa and other regions with moderate to high malaria transmission. This long-awaited landmark decision can reinvigorate the fight against malaria in the region at a time when progress on malaria control has stalled. Both real world evidence and clinical trial data show that RTS,S, alongside other malaria prevention measures, has the potential to save hundreds of thousands of lives.”
“GSK has committed to donate up to 10 million RTS,S doses for use in the pilots, and to supply up to 15 million doses annually, following a recommendation and funding for wider use. A Product Transfer, including technology transfer for long-term antigen production, is also underway with Bharat Biotech International Limited (BBIL) of India. GSK will now work closely with partners, funders and governments to support additional supply of the vaccine, and has committed to make the 15 million annual doses available at no more than 5% above cost of production,” according to a company release.
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