UK government in association with Microsoft founder Bill Gates raises one billion to fight malaria. The fund is named after Sir Ronald Ross who became Britain's first Nobel Prize winner in 1902 for his discovery that malaria is transmitted by mosquitoes.
The number of people dying from malaria is falling but a child still dies from the disease every minute in Africa. The £1bn will come from the UK's overseas aid budget over the next five years. Of the total: £115m is earmarked for research into new drugs, diagnostics and insecticides for Malaria, TB and other infectious diseases and a further £188m will be spent on improving bio defences and rapid response systems to fast-spreading epidemics such as Ebola.
A report published in the journal Nature earlier this year showed 663 million cases of malaria have been prevented in Africa as a result of concerted efforts to tackle the disease since 2000.Researchers from Oxford University attributed the reduction mostly to bed nets.
Malaria is caused by Plasmodium parasites. The parasites are spread to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes, called "malaria vectors.”
Malaria is an acute febrile illness. In a non-immune individual, symptoms appear 7 days or more (usually 10–15 days) after the infective mosquito bite. The first symptoms – fever, headache, chills and vomiting – may be mild and difficult to recognize as malaria. If not treated within 24 hours, P. falciparum malaria can progress to severe illness, often leading to death.