World Malaria Day: 5 breakthroughs in fighting the disease
Globally, 3.3 billion people in 106 countries are at risk of malaria. In 2013, only one in five African children with malaria received effective treatment, 15 million pregnant women did not receive a single dose of preventative drugs and an estimated 278 million in Africa still live in households with no insecticide-treated bed net, according to the World Health Organization.
However, despite these numbers, malaria mortality rates have decreased by 47 percent worldwide and 54 percent in Africa alone since the year 2000.
The following five advances reflect the progression in the fight against malaria.
RELATED TOPIC: We Are This Close to Ending Malaria Once and For All
1. Breath test
Australian scientists announced breath testing may lead to an easier and earlier detection of malaria, in a groundbreaking study that may eventually replace the traditional blood test. Researchers at the CSIRO and QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute discovered people infected with malaria had higher levels of a sulphur-based chemical on their breath.
2. Malaria vaccine
The world's first viable vaccine against the disease could be available in African countries as early as October, after final trial results confirmed its potential to partially prevent malaria in children. Researchers said the vaccine, called RTS,S, was effective in more than a third of children when the first dose is administered between the ages of five and 17 months.
3. Gut bacteria
Researchers at the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência in Portugal announced in December 2014 that friendly bacteria in the human gut can trigger a natural immune response against malaria. The sugary proteins on the surface of some healthy gut bacteria teach the immune system to fend off the parasite responsible for the disease, which may explain why some people appear to be naturally immune to malaria.
4. Genetically modified mosquitoes
Creating mosquitoes that produce 95 percent male offspring by using a sex-distorting genetic defect may help control malaria, scientists found in 2014. Malaria is caused by a parasite called a Plasmodium and is spread by female Anopheles mosquitoes, who pick up the parasite from infected people when they bite to obtain the blood needed to nurture their eggs.
5. Anti-malaria drugs
As drug-resistant malaria continues to pose a threat, Australian scientists have made headway in the race to find new drugs to fight the disease. Publishing their research in the scientific journal Nature, researchers were able to block the export of important proteins in red blood cells which are essential to sustaining the malaria parasite. It is a revelation in the process of creating new drugs – as there is only one drug left, artemisinin, to treat the disease.
Schneider Electric's intelligent patient room: need to know
Schneider Electric has launched a virtual showcase that features its new "intelligent patient room". What is it exactly?
Who: Schneider Electric is a multinational that develops energy and automation solutions for many different industries - including hospitality, education, defence, and healthcare. Founded in 1836, today it is a Fortune 500 company, and it currently provides technology to 40% of hospitals around the world, among them Penn Medicine, one of the top hospitals in the US where Schneider's EcoStruxure for Healthcare is deployed, an IoT solution.
What: Schneider has launched its Innovation Experience Live Healthcare Lab, an immersive experience that takes visitors through a demonstration of a hospital, including the doctor’s office, the operating room, and the intelligent patient room.
The room features a digital patient footwall - a touchscreen that creates a single reference point for patients, families and healthcare providers, by incorporating care information, entertainment and environmental controls all in one place. A separate digital patient door display has important information for healthcare staff.
All Schneider's equipment is low-voltage, and integrated so that the patient room, clinical needs and IT are all seamlessly connected, what Schneider calls a digital “system of systems.”
Why: Mike Sanders, Customer Projects & Services in Healthcare Innovation at Schneider Electric, explains: “The hospital of the future will need to put the patient experience at the forefront, using innovative and connected systems to provide superior in-hospital care experiences.”
“With the shift to remote work and business brought forth by the pandemic, we knew that we needed to invest in a new virtual experience that showcases our vision for a truly integrated healthcare experience. We believe our intelligent patient room is the solution that our healthcare partners and customers have been looking for, and we’re excited to offer a way for them to experience it no matter where they are in the world.”
Where: The virtual experience was modelled after the new innovations installed at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia, the first real-world installation of Schneider Electric’s fully integrated intelligent patient room technology. It is currently being hosted at the company’s St. Louis Innovation Hub and Innovation Executive Briefing Center (IEBC) facility.