Global economic costs due to vivax malaria and the potential impact of its radical cure

A recent article by Dr Angela Devine from Health Economics Unit, has been published in Plos Medicine. This article estimated the global economic costs due to Plasmodium vivax malaria, which is endemic throughout Asia, South America, and the Horn of Africa. This is the first time that country-level data on epidemiology, treatment seeking, and costs were brought together to estimate global costs with a total estimate of US$359 million for 2017.

The authors then used a model to investigate how these estimates might change with global access to screening for glucose-6-phosphate-dehydrogenase(G6PD) deficiency before prescribing radical cure to clear the dormant liver parasites that cause future episodes of malaria. Alongside an investment to ensure perfect adherence to radical cure, an estimated 6 million cases could be prevented in one year, reducing overall costs by US$93 million. An online model provides further opportunity to investigate how costs and cases might change with more access to G6PD screening and radical cure. Finding better ways to provide safe and effective radical cure of vivax malaria will be essential to achieving malaria elimination.