Scott Filler has been a Senior Disease Coordinator with The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria since 2011. Scott Filler's role with The Global Fund is to ensure that resources from The Global Fund are distributed and funded properly to the areas where they will have the most impact through interventions. Scott realized his mission in life was to work on malaria awareness and helping the cause when he was a junior in college. Scott elected to spend a semester in Kenya and at that time he got sick after being bitten by a mosquito. Scott Filler had malaria. He knew at that time to devote his life to the cause and working with The Global Fund in Geneva, Switzerland has allowed him to fulfill that life's work by helping other people and playing a strong role on The Global Fund's strategy. For more information on Scott Filler and his role with The Global Fund in Geneva check out his website.

 

Malaria Explained

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In a recent article by, Medical News Today, the Malaria disease is explained. Malaria is a life threatening blood disease that is caused by a parasite that is transmitted by humans by the Anopheles mosquito. On the other hand, Malaria is a preventable and treatable disease. if Malaria is treated at an early stage within the disease, the duration of the disease can be significantly reduced, which in turn prevents complications and even death in the long run.

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The word “Malaria” comes from the 18th century word “mala” which means “bad” and “aria” which means “air.” It wasn’t until 1880 that scientists discovered that Malaria was a disease caused by a parasite which is transmitted by the anopheles mosquito. the mosquito infects the host with a one-cell parasite called plasmodium. By the end of the 18th century, scientists found out that Malaria is transmitted from person-to person through the bite of the female mosquito- which needs blood for her eggs. Approximately 40% of the global population is at risk for the Malaria disease. However, during the 20th century, the disease was effectively eliminated in the majority of non-tropical areas.

In many regions where, Malaria is common such as Africa, local people have some kind of immunity- this means many infected people have no symptoms at all or very few. The severity of the Malaria disease depends on a few factors such as the type of parasite the mosquito has infected the human with, the individual persons level of immunity, and whether or not the person still has their spleen. Some of the early stage symptoms of Malaria are a high body temperature or fever, chills, headache, sweats, tiredness, nausea, and vomiting.

Luckily, there are many treatment options for the Malaria disease. Ideally, the treatment for Malaria should take place as soon as symptoms are detected- within 24 hours. Patients with uncomplicated Malaria can be treated as outpatients while those with a sever case of Malaria need to be hospitalized. In some countries that are not the United States, anti-malaria medications may be presented as suppositories. Hopefully, one day Malaria can be cured in all countries it affects. For now, doctors and scientists and taking the steps they need in order to cure people of this disease.

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Describing Malaria

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In a recent article by the online source, WebMd, a general overview of Malaria is discussed and outlined. Malaria, is a serious disease that causes high fevers and chills in people that have been affected. The way people are infected by Malaria is through a bite by an infected mosquito. Malaria is rare in the Unites States but has affected many parts of Africa, Southern Asia, Central America and South America.

The mosquito bite that affects people with the Malaria disease are mosquitoes that have been infected with parasites. However, in very rare cases, people can become infected when they come in contact with infected blood. In women who are pregnant- the fetus could develop the disease from an infected mother. Contrary to what many believe- one cannot get Malaria from purely being in contact with a person that is infected. Most Malaria infections cause patients to have flu like symptoms, such as high fever, chills and muscle pain- but the symptoms tend to come and go in cycles. Some types of the Malaria disease may cause more serious symptoms- it could cause damage to the heart, lungs, kidneys, or brain. These types can be deadly. In order to check for the Malaria disease, your doctor will order a blood test to be done in order to check for the Malaria parasite.

scottfiller_malariaMedicines can usually treat the illness but many Malaria parasites survive because they are in your liver or they are resistant to medications. If you have been in an area where Malaria is present, it is important for you to get medical help right away in case if you were exposed to mosquitoes or are getting symptoms similar to the flu. Again, these include high fever, chills and muscle pain. You might be able to prevent Malaria before by taking medicine before, during and after traveling to an infected area. However, using medication to prevent Malaria doesn’t always work. This is due to some parasites being resistant to the Malaria medication.

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currentsinbiology:

Scientists wipe out malaria-carrying mosquitoes in the lab by creating male-only offspring
Scientists have modified mosquitoes to produce sperm that will only create males, pioneering a fresh approach to eradicating malaria.
In a study published in the journal Nature Communications, scientists from Imperial College London have tested a new genetic method that distorts the sex ratio of Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes, the main transmitters of the malaria parasite, so that the female mosquitoes that bite and pass the disease to humans are no longer produced.
In the first laboratory tests, the method created a fully fertile mosquito strain that produced 95 per cent male offspring.
The scientists introduced the genetically modified mosquitoes to five caged wild-type mosquito populations. In four of the five cages, this eliminated the entire population within six generations, because of the lack of females. The hope is that if this could be replicated in the wild, this would ultimately cause the malaria-carrying mosquito population to crash.
This is the first time that scientists have been able to manipulate the sex ratios of mosquito populations. The researchers believe the work paves the way for a pioneering approach to controlling malaria.

currentsinbiology:

Scientists wipe out malaria-carrying mosquitoes in the lab by creating male-only offspring

Scientists have modified mosquitoes to produce sperm that will only create males, pioneering a fresh approach to eradicating malaria.

In a study published in the journal Nature Communications, scientists from Imperial College London have tested a new genetic method that distorts the sex ratio of Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes, the main transmitters of the malaria parasite, so that the female mosquitoes that bite and pass the disease to humans are no longer produced.

In the first laboratory tests, the method created a fully fertile mosquito strain that produced 95 per cent male offspring.

The scientists introduced the genetically modified mosquitoes to five caged wild-type mosquito populations. In four of the five cages, this eliminated the entire population within six generations, because of the lack of females. The hope is that if this could be replicated in the wild, this would ultimately cause the malaria-carrying mosquito population to crash.

This is the first time that scientists have been able to manipulate the sex ratios of mosquito populations. The researchers believe the work paves the way for a pioneering approach to controlling malaria.

Foods Fighting Disease

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scottfiller_fruitsandveggiesIn a recent news report, certain foods are now being researched and used to fight and prevent some diseases. In San Diego, CA local medical researchers and physicians are stating that food heals and might even be able to heal cancer patients. Some vegetables listed that can be used as medicine include parsley, collard greens, and onions.

Co-founder of UC San Diego’s Natural Healing and Cooking program, Dr. Gordon Saxe wanted to create a program that would provide patients with medicine alternatives to shots and pills to heal their ailments such as headaches, stomach pains and even cancers. One of the cancer patients, Julie Negrin, states “everybody says that they can’t believe I’m going through chemotherapy and I think it’s because I’m eating good food and taking care of myself.” Negrin has stage two cancer and just recently had many cancer infected part of her body removed. After this extensive surgery, Negrin was suffering from fatigue that left her lying on the couch for hours on end. Now she follows guidelines that Dr. Saxe puts in place for her. He encourages her to stick to a whole-plant based diet. Dr, Saxe states, “Theres a great deal of evidence in cancer research that diet is very important for cancer risk and is much more a factor even more than cigarettes.” He goes on to say that nourishing food provides a person strength and the ability to fight off illness.

Dr. Saxe believe that people are yearning to find other ways to feel well and stay well and they can do this by adjusting their diet to include more nourishing and unprocessed foods. Food can be used as medicine and it’s about time that people start using food to heal themselves of their ailments. He hopes this “culinary strategy” sweeps the nation.

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U.N. Discusses Syrian Conflict

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scottfiller_ungenevaIn a recent article published by the Voice of America, U.N. investigators in Geneva, Switzerland are warning that the Syrian conflict is threatening the entire region. According to the Commission of Inquiry on Syria, there is a growing threat of a regional war in the Middle East. Latests reports document the extent of the violence and suffering that the Syrian people are experiencing after more than three years of war. The U.N. Commission of Inquiry states that the most dangerous aspect of these newest developments is the increase of the sectarian threat. They believe that this threat is a direct consequence of extremist groups like the Islamic State in Iraq.

Vitit Muntarbhorn, a commission member, stated that at some point the Commission predicted the dangers of the Syrian conflict from its borders all the way into the regional areas. According to Muntarbhorn, there are many radical elements involved in this impending war and that the flow of arms coming from the outside are aggravating the situation at hand. The conflict at first did not have sectarian influence but over time, it became that way. The latest update from the Commission, which covers March 15th to June 15th states that in previous investigations, the Syrian government has denied the Commission access into the country. However, the Commission was still able to compose a list of violations and atrocities committed by all the parties through eye witness reports. From these reports, the Commission realized how prevalent war crimes and crimes against humanity were. In addition, the Commission received thousands of photographs of bodies that had been abused and killed in the government military facilities in Syria.

The photos showed signs of abuse and torture that had been previously documented by the Commission. The report also describes the civilians being targeted and also institutions such as schools and hospitals. Moving forward, the commission believes that a political solution is the only way to end the war, however, this is leading to violence because the opponents are not fearful of consequences of any kind.

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Malaria Cases Reduced

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Malaria, which is caused by a tiny parasite, is a seasonal disease that causes hundreds of thousands of deaths in the spring time. According to a recent article published by the New York Times, the reports of malaria this year were encouraging, meaning that infections caused by Malaria have been reduced and many lives have been saved. There was also good news in May that researchers that a potential malaria vaccine might be on the way. One would think that malaria would be dying down, however researchers in Thailand do not feel this way.

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The mosquitos that carry the malaria disease from person to person are adapting and therefore becoming resistant to the chemicals in the drugs used to prevent the disease from spreading. This causes scientists to be constantly formulating new drugs in order to save lives for malaria. The writer of the article, Francois Nosten, who is a professor of tropical medicine at the University of Oxford, writes about his time working at the Thai-Myanmar border for 30 years and remembering a time when him and his team believed that malaria was untreatable.The number of people with a particular parasite was declining but the drug that they were using was becoming less effective and more patients were dying.

However, it wasn’t long until they found an alternate drug, Artemisia from China that was proven to be very safe and was killing the malaria parasite very rapidly. Shortly after, studies confirmed the safety and effectiveness of the artemisia-based combination therapy or ACT for short. The new treatment method was deployed in refugee camps and the number of cases and deaths declined. There was evidence stating that the therapy worked but the World Health Organization was slow to adopt the treatment and suggest it for other countries, like Africa. This was due to the fact that after the 2000-2001 malaria epidemic, many people received ineffective drugs.

Today, the fight to end malaria is still in effect but is difficult due to money and politics. Nosten claims that “we have the science to defeat malaria, we just have to act before it defeats us.”

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OIC Hold First Conference

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In 2007, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) hosted its first conference of health ministers in Malaysia where they discussed the prospect of eliminating malaria. In addition the OIC confirmed it’s commitment to work towards a malaria free world at a recent meeting in Jakarta where member states were urged to unite in order to eventually eradicate malaria worldwide. With the continued commitment by the OIC and member states, about 7 OIC countries have successfully terminated malaria. Moving forward, the OIC wants to continue this progress to other countries. However, even though there has been great gains in fighting this disease worldwide, there is still a significant number of communities in Muslim countries that are continuing to be infected by malaria according to the Roll Back Malaria Partnership (RBM). Despite the progress, there are about 207 million infections around the world each year and OIC countries account for about half of these infections each year. Malaria, alone kills almost 630,000 people each year. However, it is in Africa where 80% of global malaria cases occur.

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On the other hand, increased financing has helped decrease malaria infections by 42% globally and nearly 50% in Africa as of 2000.

The policies are working, but if the policies are continually invested in then, the partnership and OIC will lose the advances they have made to fight this infection. The two organizations must find creative ways to work together in order to maximize the effectiveness of their efforts in order to sustain the progress they have already made and continuing saving people’s lives. Fighting malaria is a major economic effort and both parties show tremendous commitment to fighting malaria. The path that everyone is on won’t be easy but continuing to make smart investments and working together will make a major impact for future generations. They can’t afford not to eliminate this disease.

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