Categories: HealthScience

COVID-19 is not the only infectious disease right now

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COVID-19 is not the only disease health organizations should focus on. Malaria, Tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS are the “big three” infectious diseases the world should also fight right now.

Science research groups across the earth are currently racing to find a vaccine to protect against SARS-CoV-2. This substance is a virus that causes COVID-19 disease.

More than 29 million people around the world have now contracted COVID-19. More than 900,000 people have died because of this pandemic.

But COVID-19 isn’t the only disease for which scientists are currently trying to find a vaccine. There are also the “big three” infectious conditions health officers are now fighting.

The big three virus

As reported by The Conversation, malaria, Tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS are the “big three” infectious diseases right now. Together, they’re responsible for about 2.7 million deaths a year around the world. They disproportionately hit low- and middle-income countries.

Deaths from these three infectious diseases could almost double over the next year. And this was confirmed as a result of disruptions to health care in the face of COVID-19.

Malaria

This condition is a parasitic disease transmitted through the bite of a mosquito infected by a virus. Common symptoms of malaria are fever, headache, muscle aches, and fatigue. If not treated immediately, malaria can lead to severe disease and death.

As of now, scientists have already warned African people regarding a newly infectious Asian mosquito called An. stephensi. Unlike endemic mosquito species in Africa, this particular mosquito has made an appearance in African cities in recent years.

“This mosquito is unlike any other primary malaria vector found in Africa – it can live in urban areas that other species just don’t like,” said the lead author, Dr. Marianne Sinka from the University of Oxford.

Tuberculosis

TB or Tuberculosis is the leading cause of death by a single infectious agent globally. It’s caused by a bacterium that spreads from person to person through the air and mainly affects the lungs.

Although it can be effectively treated with antimicrobial drugs, TB was responsible for 1.5 million deaths in 2018.

Scientists are currently working to develop prophylactic vaccines and post-exposure vaccines. Prophylactic vaccines are used to prevent infection from the outset. In comparison, post-exposure vaccines are for the prevention of disease progression in people with latent Tuberculosis.

HIV/AIDS

Since the discovery of HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) in 1980s, the disease has caused 33 million deaths. As of now, there is no cure or protective vaccine for this infectious disease. However, antiviral therapeutics can effectively control HIV.

Researchers are aiming to develop a protective vaccine against HIV. A major focus is developing broadly neutralizing antibodies in HIV-infected patients.

Images used courtesy of Nucleus Medical Media/YouTube Screenshot

Monica Santos

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Monica Santos

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