China’s Hard-Won Triumph over Malaria 

China was certified malaria-free yesterday by the WHO, capping off a decades-long effort that took the country from 30 million cases in the 1940s to zero in 2017, the WHO reports.

China won the status after maintaining zero indigenous cases for 4 consecutive years—becoming the world’s most populous nation by far to achieve the elimination goal, Science notes.

How they did it:

  • Pushed to identify new malaria drugs—including artemisinin as a key compound in frontline antimalarial drugs 

  • Helped pioneer the use of insecticide-treated nets

  • Launched a “1-3-7” strategy in 2012: 1 day to report a diagnosis, 3 days to investigate the case, and 7 days to roll out countermeasures 

  • Developed genetics-based approaches to track drug resistance and distinguish indigenous from imported cases

40 countries have now achieved malaria-free status around the world, according to the WHO.

Related: Antibodies help identify women protected from placental malaria – eLife via EurekAlert

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