To most Americans and Europeans, malaria is one of those diseases like whooping cough or polio, something long vanquished, one of those diseases that just does not happen to us any more… although just beyond living memory it cut a terrible swath through the populations of the lower Mississippi river valley, and along the temperate river valleys of Southern Italy. The building of the Panama Canal was famously held up until the very cause of it could be determined, and the fight against the mosquitoes that carried it could carried out successfully. American forces in WWII’s Pacific front were decimated by malaria, even with all that contemporary preventive medicine could do.

Malaria is a cruel fact of life — and death in Southeast Asia, South America and most particularly in Africa. Even where it was once beaten back with DDT, and held at bay with drugs that were a vast improvement on quinine, malaria is becoming resistant to current drug treatments. A new front in an old battle has been opened, with a vaccine against malaria tested in humans. Results so far are decidedly mixed, but researchers are convinced that a vaccine is possible. MORE….

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