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Medical experts concerned COVID-19 fight will overshadow battle against malaria

Last year alone, malaria killed 380,000 people, mostly in Africa.

FILE: In the first 14 years of this century, the number of malaria deaths dropped by 40% because of medical advances and the reduction of mosquito breeding sites. Picture: Freeimages.

PRETORIA - Medical experts marking World Malaria Day on Saturday are concerned the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic would overshadow the battle against the mosquito-borne parasite that threatens nearly 3.5 billion people in 108 countries.

Last year alone, malaria killed 380,000 people, mostly in Africa.

In the first 14 years of this century, the number of malaria deaths dropped by 40% because of medical advances and the reduction of mosquito breeding sites.

Since 2014, however, the fatalities have persistently approached 400,000 a year.

Because of the complexities of the disease, there is no commercially available vaccine and the parasite develops immunity to prophylactics, rendering them useless.

Scientists insist that there can be no let-up in the battle against malaria, which has to continue in parallel with the fight against COVID 19.