The National Academies: What You Need To Know About Infectious Disease

The National Academies

What You Need To Know About Infectious Disease

Saving Lives, Buying Time: Economics of Malaria Drugs in an Age of Resistance (2004)

For more than 50 years, low-cost antimalarial drugs silently saved millions of lives and cured billions of debilitating infections. Today, however, these drugs no longer work against the deadliest form of malaria that exists throughout the world. Malaria deaths in sub-Saharan Africa, currently just over one million per year, are rising because of increased resistance to the old, inexpensive drugs. Although effective new drugs called artemisinins are available, they are unaffordable for the majority of the affected population, even at a cost of one dollar per course.

Saving Lives, Buying Time: Economics of Malaria Drugs in an Age of Resistance examines the history of malaria treatments, provides an overview of the current drug crisis, and offers recommendations on maximizing access to and effectiveness of antimalarial drugs. The book finds that most people in endemic countries will not have access to currently effective combination treatments, which should include an artemisinin, without financing from the global community. Without funding for effective treatment, malaria mortality could double over the next 10 to 20 years and transmission will intensify. 

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What do you know about infectious disease?

True or False: Most infectious diseases are not impacted by changes in the environment.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Most infectious diseases are impacted by changes in the environment. Malaria, dengue, and viral encephalitis infections, for example, are highly sensitive to environmental changes.

  • Correct!

    Most infectious diseases are impacted by changes in the environment. Malaria, dengue, and viral encephalitis infections, for example, are highly sensitive to environmental changes.