Britain’s Wellcome Trust takes as one of its key missions the fight against malaria. The Trust is a charitable foundation created from profits of pharmaceutical development and sales.
Recently I found this HTML animation presentation on the life cycle of the malaria parasite, something all malaria fighters must know to be effective.
It’s also something that DDT advocates seem unable to comprehend. Malaria is not a virus, nor is it a venom mosquitoes manufacture, but it is a parasite that infects (and disables) both mosquitoes and humans. Mosquitoes catch the parasite from an infected human host. After the malaria parasite completes a couple of cycles in the gut of the mosquito, the parasite can be transmitted back to humans by a mosquito bite. And the cycle continues.
Since complete eradication of malaria-carrying mosquitoes is practically impossible in almost all cases, beating malaria requires an interruption in the cycle of transmission of the parasite, plus the curing of the disease in infected human hosts.
For example, the old World Health Organization (WHO) malaria eradication campaign, which operated from 1955 to 1963, DDT was used to temporarily knock down a population of mosquitoes, with hopes human hosts would be ridded of malaria parasites so that, in six months or so, when the mosquito populations roared back, there would be no malaria in local humans to infect mosquitoes. Consequently, mosquitoes can’t transmit a parasite they don’t have.
Lost on far too many people: Humans must be cured of malaria to prevent transmission. Beating malaria takes a lot more than just killing mosquitoes.
Check out the interactive: Malaria parasite life cycle
While you’re there, snoop around to see what else Wellcome Trust is up to in the malaria fight.