Battling Malaria

In his review of the myriad problems associated with the U.S. Agency for International Development’s malaria vaccine development program (The Scientist, July 10, 1989, page 1), Jim Anderson curtly discounted the role of vector control in malaria eradication programs, and implied that vaccine development was the new “silver bullet” that may solve the world’s malaria ills, even though his article shows that a vaccine may or may not be feasible.

Vector control remains the cornerstone of malaria control because it is good preventive medicine, but (contrary to what Anderson wrote, page 4) eradication of Anopheles mosquitoes has never been the goal. Rather, the theory of vector control is to kill the older, epidemiologically dangerous Anopheles before they can transmit the malaria parasite. However, problems arose when the mosquitoes evolved resistance to the residual insecticides used. A separate problem has been the development of resistance to drugs...

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