First identified almost 5 000 years ago, Malaria’s name comes from the Italian for bad air from when it was believed that illness was carried by the air. It was first identified as a parasite in 1880, a doctor in Cuba the following year noted the connection between mosquitoes and the transmission of yellow fever and allowed for the parasite to be tracked to being spread by certain mosquitoes.
The work resulted in Noble prizes for medicine being awarded in 1902 and 1907.
Vaccines for smallpox gave some the hope that something similar could be found for Malaria. Last week we got the results of a multi year trial that suggests we may finally have one.
The parasite that has been estimated to be responsible for the unnatural deaths of half of all humanity.
Audio credit: Dr Matshidiso Moeti WHO
Image credit: Mycteria / 123rf.com