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HandWiki. Timeline of Malaria. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 15 June 2024).
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Timeline of Malaria

Malaria is an infectious disease caused by a parasite; it is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Every year, 300 to 700 million people get infected. Malaria kills 1 million to 2 million people every year. 90% of the deaths occur in Africa.

malaria infectious disease mosquito

1. Chronology

Period Event
Prehistory (from Jurassic period to Paleolithic) The origin of malaria dates back to a very early time in a warm and humid Africa, being present long before the whole timeline of development of apes.[1] Malaria infection in humans from parasite plasmodium falciparum is thought to have been originally caught from gorillas.[2]
Ancient history Malaria is already known throughout the era of the Roman Empire,[3] Ancient Egypt and the Indian subcontinent.[4] In Ancient Greece , Hippocrates already writes a description of the disease.[5] Malaria is also known to exist in Ancient China.[6] Antimalarial artemisinin is described.[7]
Middle Ages In Europe, witchcraft and astrology thrive around the treatment during this period.[8] Malaria is attributed to a 'bad air', hence the term mal aria (from Medieval Italian).[9]
1500s–1600s Malaria reaches the Americas through Spanish colonization. The native population in Peru makes use of bark of the cinchona tree for treating fever.[10] After its discovery by the Spanish, the bark is brought to Europe where it comes into general use.[10][11][12][13]
1700s The cinchona bark from South America is established as a major cure for fever in the Western World.[14]
1800s Parasites are first identified as source of malaria.[15]
1900s Increasing scientific research leads to rapid advance in the knowledge of malarial parasites and the development of drugs, such as chloroquine, mefloquine and pyrimethamine. Antibiotics are also developed. DDT insecticidal properties are discovered.[16] Early eradications are achieved in the first half of the century.[17]
1940s–1950s Public health initiatives deploying use of DDT, mostly inside homes and other sites of transmission, and drainage of breeding sites frees Europe and North America from malaria.[18][19]
1970s–1990s The malaria situation deteriorates in the 70s. Reduced control measures between 1972 and 1976, due to financial constraints, lead to a massive 2–3 fold increases in malaria cases at a global level. Heavy overuse of DDT lead to increasingly common strains of DDT-resistant mosquitos.[20][21]
1990s–2000s The World Health Organization starts to investigate artemisinin and its derivatives, finally promoting them on a large scale in the 2000s.[22]
2000–2015 Malaria incidence among populations at risk (the rate of new cases) falls by 37% globally.[23]

2. Full Timeline

Malaria deaths per WHO region for period between 2000 and 2015.[24] All regions but South–East Asia show negligible levels compared to Africa, where the vast majority of malaria deaths occur. Cumulative.

Worldwide estimated costs for scaling up malaria control interventions for the period 2006-2015 (in US$ millions)[25][26]

Global reported malaria cases by the WHO[27][28] for the period 1962–1997. The number of reporting countries is detailed below.

Committed funding (US$ millions) on malaria control by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for the period 2009–2015.[29]

Year Event type Event Geographic location
Palaeozoic era Origin Malaria–causing parasite plasmodium is thought to trace its origin back with the merge of the first insects.[30]  
8000 BC Epidemic Malaria epidemic is thought to infect people, as the first big groups of population develop around the birth and expansion of agriculture.[31][32]  
2000–1500 BC Science development (symptoms) Sumerian and Egyptian doctors describe symptoms resembling those of malaria.[4] Middle East
800 BC Science development (vector) Indian surgeon Sushruta indicates that malaria is caught from insect bites.[33][34] India
26 BC Publication Chinese text Nei Ching (The Canon of Medicine) is published. It describes several characteristic symptoms of what would later be named malaria.[35] China
340 Science development (treatment) The anti-fever properties of artemisinin are first described by Chinese official Ge Hong of the Jìn Dynasty.[36][37] China
1031–1095 Science development (treatment) Chinese polymath Shen Kuo suggests that plant species artemisia apiacea has striking antimalarial properties.[22] China
1000–1500 Epidemic Malaria reaches northern Europe.[4] Europe
1492 onwards Epidemic The arrival of Europeans introduces the malaria parasite for the first time into the Americas.[4] Americas
1632   Jesuit missionary Bernabé Cobo brings cinchona bark from Perú to Spain .[36][38] Spain
1633 Science development (treatment) Jesuit priest Antonio de la Calancha writes in his Chronicle of St Augustine about a "tree which they call the fever tree whose bark made into a powder amounting to the weight of two small silver coins and given as a beverage, cures the fevers and the tertians" (Tertians being the name for the three-day cycle of one form of malarial fever).[3][39] South America
1649 Publication The Schedula Romana is released. It is considered an early example of efficient anti-malaria recipe (using cinchona bark). The publication by Pietro Paolo Puccerini is attributed to the knowledge of Spanish cardinal Juan de Lugo and to have summarized trials that Lugo probably carried out.[14][40] Italy (Rome)
1663 Publication Italian physician Sebastiano Baldi writes the first compilation of the use of cinchona bark. His work is subsequently researched by numerous authors.[14] Europe
1712 Science development (treatment) Italian physician Francesco Torti writes Therapeutice Specialis, where he describes the therapeutic properties of the bark.[41] Italy (Modena)
1717 Science development (vector) Epidemiologist Giovanni Maria Lancisi publishes De noxiis paludum e zuviis, eorumque remediis where he suggests the possible role of mosquitoes in the transmission of malaria. Lancisi relates the prevalence of malaria in swampy areas to the presence of flies and recommends swamp drainage to prevent it.[42] Italy (Rome)
1821 Science development (treatment) French pharmacist Joseph Bienaimé Caventou and chemist Pierre Joseph Pelletier purify quinine (obtained from the cinchona tree) and other cinchona alkaloids. The quinine molecule is promptly tested in patients, and after numerous medical observations and case reports from all over the world, it is soon indicated that quinine is specific for ‘malarial’ (intermittent) fevers.[14] France (Paris)
1874 Science development (prevention) Austrian chemistry student Othmar Zeidler is credited with the first synthesis of DDT (Dichloro Diphenyl Trichloroethane). DDT is used in the second half of World War II to control malaria and typhus among civilians and troops. After the war, DDT is also used as an agricultural insecticide.[43] Austria[44]
1880 Science development (parasite) Charles Louis Alphonse Laveran observes parasites inside the red blood cells of infected people for the first time, proposing that malaria is caused by an organism. For this he receives the Nobel Prize in 1907.[15] Algeria
1881 Science development (vector) Carlos Finlay provides strong evidence that a mosquito later designated as Aedes aegypti transmits disease to and from humans.[45][46] The theory remains controversial for twenty years until confirmed in 1901 by Walter Reed.[47] Cuba
1886 Science development (symptoms) Italian neurophysiologist Camillo Golgi shows that there are at least two forms of malaria, one with tertian periodicity (fever every other day) and one with quartan periodicity (fever every third day). Golgi also observes that the two forms produce differing numbers of merozoites (new parasites) upon maturity and that fever coincide with the rupture and release of merozoites into the blood stream. Camillo Golgi is awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1906.[35][38] Italy
1890 Science development (parasite) Italian physicians Giovanni Batista Grassi and Raimondo Feletti first introduce the names plasmodium vivax and plasmodium malariae for two of the malaria parasites that affect humans.[35] Italy
1895–1898 Science development (vector) British medical doctor Ronald Ross proves that malaria is transmitted by mosquitoes, and lays the foundation for the method of combating the disease. For this he receives the Nobel Prize in 1902.[15] India
1897 Science development (parasite) American bacteriologist William H. Welch names the malignant tertian malaria parasite plasmodium falciparum.[35] United States
1898 Science development (vector) An Italian team of scientists prove that anopheles claviger mosquitoes infect humans via the bite.[48] Italy (Rome)
1900–1907 Program launch In Italy, a series of laws establishes a national malaria control campaign (the first of its kind in the world).[49]:4 Italy
1903 Organization The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene is founded. Today it operates worldwide, yet it remains focused on developed countries. Research, health care and education are its main activities.[50][51][52] United States (Philadelphia). Serves worldwide.
1908 Science development (treatment) German chemist Paul Rabe provides the first evidence for the structure of quinine.[39][53] Germany (Hamburg)
1910   The first case of malaria resistance against quinine is identified.[7][54][55]  
1913 Organization The Rockefeller Foundation is created, and through one of its branches, the International Health Division, it starts to conduct campaigns against malaria, in addition to yellow fever and hookworm.[56][57][58] United States (New York City )
1922 Science development (parasite) British parasitologist John William Watson Stephens describes the fourth human malaria parasite, plasmodium ovale.[35] United Kingdom (Liverpool)[59]
1931 Science development (parasite) British parasitologist Robert Knowles and Bengali parasitologist Biraj Mohan Das Gupta first describe plasmodium knowlesi ( a primate malaria parasite commonly found in Southeast Asia).[35] India (Kolkata)[60]
1934–1935 Epidemic A malaria epidemic occurs in Sri Lanka (then known as Ceylon) that affects 27% of its population.[61][62]:4 Sri Lanka
1934 Science development (prevention) German scientist Hans Andersag discovers chloroquine at Bayer I.G. Farbenindustrie A.G. laboratories.[35] Germany (Elberfeld)
1939 Science development (prevention) Organochloride DDT's insecticidal properties are discovered by Paul Hermann Müller, who is awarded the 1948 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine.[16] In the following decades, total eradication of malaria is achieved in most of the developed world due to application of DDT inside homes and other sites of transmission, and drainage programs.[18][63] Europe, North America
1940 Achievement Complete eradication of Anopheles gambiae from northeast Brazil and thus from the New World is achieved by the systematic application of the arsenic-containing compound Paris green to breeding places, and of pyrethrum spray-killing to adult resting places.[17] Brazil
1942 Organization The Office of Malaria Control in War Areas (MCWA) is established with the purpose of limiting the impact of malaria and other vector-borne diseases (such as murine typhus) during World War II around military training bases in the southern United States and its territories, where malaria is still problematic at the time.[64][65] United States
1944 Science development (treatment) Chemists at Imperial Chemical Industries discover antimalarial proguanil.[66] Proguanil is introduced for use in 1948.[7][54][55] United Kingdom
1945 Science development (drug) Antimalarial drug chloroquine is introduced for use.[7][54][55]  
1946 Science development (treatment) Camoquin is made available as new antimalarial drug. It is proved to be effective after administration of a single therapeutic dose.[36][67]  
United States
1948 Science development (parasite) Belgian physician Ignace Vinke and entomologist Marcel Lips identify and isolate malaria parasite plasmodium berghei from wild rodents in Central Africa.[48][68] Central Africa
1948 Science development (parasite) Anglo-Indian protozoologist Henry Edward Shortt and British biologist Cyril Garnham discover that malaria parasites develop in the liver before entering the blood stream.[48] United Kingdom
1948 Organization The World Health Organization (WHO) forms.[69] Switzerland (Geneva). Operates worldwide.
1949   The first case of malaria resistance against proguanil is identified.[7][54][55] Malaysia[70]
1950 Science development (treatment) Primaquine is introduced as new antimalarial drug. It is proven to prevent relapse and sterilizes infectious sexual plasmodia.[71]  
1952 Science development (prevention) Dr. Mario Pinotti introduces the strategy of putting chloroquine into common cooking salt for malaria suppression, as a way of distributing the drug as a prophylactic on a wide scale. This program (using either chloroquine or pyrimethamine) becomes known as "Pinotti's method" and is employed in South America as well as Asia and Africa.[41][72] Brazil
1955 Program launch WHO launches the Malaria Eradication Programme. The global malaria eradication campaign is adopted by the 8th World Health Assembly and based upon the widespread use of DDT against mosquitos and of antimalarial drugs to treat malaria and eliminate the parasite in humans. Within the next decade, this program succeeds in eradicating malaria from the developed world.[17][73] Worldwide
1957   The first case of malaria resistance against chloroquine is identified.[7][54][55] Thailand[74]
1955–1972 Achievement Bulgaria, Cyprus, Dominica, Grenada, Hungary, Italy, Jamaica, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Saint Lucia, Spain, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, United States and Venezuela are certified as malaria-free by the WHO within this period.[75] Bulgaria, Cyprus, Dominica, Grenada, Hungary, Italy, Jamaica, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Saint Lucia, Spain, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, United States Venezuela
1965 Science development (parasite) The first human infection with plasmodium knowlesi is documented.[35] Malaysia
1967   Antimalarial sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine is introduced. The first case of malaria resistance against sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine is identified in the same year.[7][55] Thailand
1967 Achievement Malaria is eradicated from all developed countries where the disease was endemic and large areas of tropical Asia and Latin America are freed from the risk of infection.[73]  
1967–1981 Program launch The secret military Project 523 of the People's Republic of China is aimed at finding new drugs for malaria. Over 500 Chinese scientists are recruited. The project leads to the discovery of artemisinin and derivatives,[76] also pyronaridine, lumefantrine and naphthoquine. All these antimalarial drugs are used today in therapy.[77] China, Vietnam
1969   WHO acknowledges failure of its goal of malaria eradication and changes its goal to malaria control.[62]:8[78]  
1970 Organization Population Services International is created as a nonprofit global health organization with programs targeting malaria, child survival, and reproductive health. PSI provides life-saving products, clinical services and behavior change communications.[79][80] United States (Washington, D.C.). Operates worldwide.
1971 Science development (prevention) Antimalarial mefloquine (sold under the brand names Lariam) is first synthesized at the Experimental Therapeutics Division of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR). It is number 142,490 of over 500,000 chemical compounds investigated by the United States Armed Forces to combat the devastating consequences of malaria in Vietnam.[81] Mefloquine comes into use in the mid 1980s.[82] Mefloquine is introduced for use in 1977.[7][54][55] United States
1971 Science development (treatment) Chinese scientists isolate the active ingredient of traditional Chinese medical drug qinghao (the blue-green herb) by extracting the artemisinin.[22][36] China
1972 Policy Insecticide DDT is banned for agricultural usage in the United States. Many other countries follow suit. These bans make exceptions for the use of DDT for anti-malarial purposes.[63][83] United States
1972–1987 Achievement Australia, Brunei, Cuba, Mauritius, Portugal, Réunion, Singapore and Yugoslavia are certified as malaria-free by the WHO within this period.[75] Australia, Brunei, Cuba, Mauritius, Portugal, Réunion, Singapore, Yugoslavia
1974 Achievement Malaria is eradicated from 37 countries mainly in Europe and Americas.[84]  
1982   The first case of malaria resistance against mefloquine is identified.[7][54][55] Thailand[85]
1983 Policy Insecticide DDT is banned in Thailand.[86] Thailand
1986 Policy DDT is outlawed in the United Kingdom.[87] United Kingdom
1987 Science development (prevention) Colombian biochemist Manuel Elkin Patarroyo develops the first synthetic vaccine against plasmodium falciparum, the parasite that causes malaria.[15] Colombia
1992 Organization Malaria Foundation International (MFI) is founded as a non-profit organization dedicated to the fight against malaria. The MFI’s goals are to support awareness, education, training, research, and leadership programs to develop and apply tools to combat the disease.[88][89]  
1992 Policy Insecticide DDT is banned in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.[86] Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam
1992 Program launch New Global Malaria Control Strategy is launched. Endorsed by a ministerial conference on malaria control, it is later confirmed by the World Health Assembly in 1993. This new strategy is based largely upon the primary health care approach and requires flexible, cost-effective, sustainable, and decentralized programs based upon disease rather than parasite control, adapted to local conditions and responding to local needs. This approach becomes successful and has positive impact in a number of countries such as Brazil, China, Solomon Islands, Philippines, Vanuatu, Vietnam, and Thailand. Its success demonstrates that malaria can be controlled by locally and currently available tools.[73] Worldwide
1996   Antimalarial drug atovaquone is introduced. The first case of malaria resistance against atovaquone is identified in the same year.[7][54][55] United Kingdom [90]
1997 Organization Multilateral Initiative on Malaria (MIM), an alliance of organizations that facilitates research on malaria, is established. MIM would also collaborate with the Disease Control Priorities Project.[91][92] Senegal (Dakar)
1998 Program launch Malaria Research and Reference Reagent Resource Center (MR4) is launched to provide resources like malaria reagents, protocols and technical support to the international research community. It is funded by the (NIAID).[93][94] United States
1998 Organization Global framework Roll Back Malaria Partnership is launched as a partnership between WHO, UNICEF, UNDP and the World Bank, with the purpose of coordinating action against malaria.[95] In 2015 RBM launched a Global Call to Action to increase coverage with preventive treatment to protect pregnant women from the devastation caused by malaria during pregnancy.[96][97]  
1983 Policy Insecticide DDT is banned in Malaysia.[86] Malaysia
1999 Program launch The Research Initiative on Traditional Antimalarial Methods (RITAM) is launched as a collaboration between WHO, the Global Initiative for Traditional Systems of Health (GIFTS), the University of Oxford, and researchers and others throughout the world who are investigating or interested in the antimalarial properties of plants, with the purpose of developing or validating local herbal medicines to prevent and/or treat malaria.[98] Tanzania (Moshi) (inaugural meeting)
1999 Organization Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) is founded to reduce the burden of malaria by facilitating the discovery, development, and delivery of antimalarial medicines.[99][100] The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation would be one of its major funders in subsequent years,[101] and it would partner with drug company Novartis.[102] Switzerland (Geneva)
2000   The African Summit on Roll Back Malaria takes place in Abuja, Nigeria, on April 25. Signatories committed to an intensive effort to halve mortality from malaria in Africa by 2010.[103][104] Abuja, Nigeria
2000 Organization Africa Fighting Malaria is founded as an NGO. It conducts research into the social and economic aspects of malaria.[105][106] South Africa
2000 Organization The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is founded by Bill and Melinda Gates with the aims of enhancing healthcare and reduce extreme poverty at a global level. Today it is the largest private foundation in the world, having donated over one billion dollars on malaria alone.[107][108] United States (Seattle). Operates worldwide.
2000 Science development (treatment) Roll Back Malaria Partnership launches new artemisinin combination therapy ACT.[36][109]  
2001 Policy DDT is banned as a pesticide worldwide under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants after it is discovered to be dangerous to wildlife and the environment.[87] Sweden (Stockholm), worldwide
2001 Organization The Amazon Malaria Initiative is launched with the goal of preventing and controlling malaria in the Amazon basin. With support from the U.S. Agency for International Development, it has expanded into eleven countries.[110][111] Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, Bolivia, Venezuela (ceased participation), Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama.
2002 Organization The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is founded as an international financing institution dedicated to attract and fund additional resources to stop and treat those diseases.[112] Switzerland (Geneva)
2002 Organization The African Malaria Network Trust (AMANET) is established. Its main goal is vaccine development, although it has expanded its aims, including other intervention measures such as antimalaria drugs and vector control.[113][114] Tanzania (Dar es Salaam). Operates in Africa.
2002   The Malaria Journal, a peer-reviewed open access medical journal published by BioMed Central, is established.[115] United Kingdom
2003 Organization The Malaria Consortium is founded as a non-profit organization dedicated to the control of malaria.[116] United Kingdom (London). Operates in Africa and Asia.
2004 Organization Against Malaria Foundation is set up with the aim of handling money and raising funds. Much of the funds raised by it are used to purchase bednets. United Kingdom (London). Operates in Africa.
2004 Organization MalariaWorld is launched as a project between the Multilateral Initiative on Malaria and the National Library of Medicine with the aim of facilitating free and unrestricted access to information on malaria. MalariaWorld has collaborated with the Malaria Eradication Scientific Alliance.[117][118] United States (Washington, DC.)
2005 Organization South African Malaria Initiative is launched with aims at finding new ways to prevent and treat malaria.[119][120][121] South Africa
2005 Organization The Innovative Vector Control Consortium is established as a research consortium. It focuses on the development of new insecticides for public health vector control and also information systems and tools in order to enable new and existing pesticides to be used more effectively.[122][123] United Kingdom, United States, South Africa
2005 Program launch The Malaria Atlas Project is founded.[124] Its website would launch on May 1, 2006.[125] United Kingdom (Oxford)
2006 Organization Malaria No More is founded. It has partnerships and focuses in advocacy to elevate malaria on the global health agenda.[126][127] United States (Seattle). Operates worldwide.
2006 Organization The United Nations Foundation creates the Nothing But Nets campaign to prevent malaria deaths by purchasing, distributing, and teaching the proper use of mosquito bed nets.[128] Sub-Saharan Africa
2006 Publication The second edition of Disease Control Priorities in Developing Countries, commonly referred to as DCP2, is published.[129] Chapter 21 of the publication is entitled "Conquering Malaria".[130]  
2007–2015 Achievement Armenia, Maldives, Morocco, Turkmenistan and the United Arab Emirates are certified as malaria-free by the WHO within this period.[75] Armenia, Maldives, Morocco, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates
2008 Organization The Millennium Foundation for Innovative Finance for Health is established. Its project MassiveGood is meant to collect funds for combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.[131][132] United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Spain. Serves worldwide.
2008 Program launch The United Methodist Church launches comprehensive anti-malaria campaign Imagine No Malaria, with aims at raising $75 million "to empower the people of Africa to overcome malaria’s burden".[133][134] United States
2008 Program launch The Global Malaria Action Plan (GMAP), developed by the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, is launched at the 2008 MDG Malaria Summit on September 25.[135]:2[136] United States (New York City )
2009 Organization The African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) is founded by African Heads of State to use their individual and collective power to keep malaria high on the political and policy agenda.[137][138] Africa
2012 Organization The Malaria Eradication Scientific Alliance (MESA) is formed to conduct research on malaria elimination.[139][140] Spain
2014 Organization EVIMalaR is conducted as a malaria research network. Funded by the European Commission and involving at least 62 partners from 51 institutes.[141][142][143] Europe, Africa, India and Australia.
2019 Program launch A pilot project testing the RTS,S vaccine is launched in Malawi, Ghana, and Kenya.[144]  
2020 Science development (prevention) Scientists discovered the Microsporidia MB microbe completely protects mosquitoes from being infected with malaria.[145] Kenya


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