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