Scientists hope a new vaccine will reduce malaria in Africa. But is it worth the cost?

National Geographic

Lena Mucha

The first-ever malaria vaccine is 35 years and billions of dollars in the making. It’s less than 40% effective.

Hundreds of thousands of children across malaria-stricken regions of Kenya, Malawi, and Ghana are receiving the world’s first ever malaria vaccine, which Western health experts laud as an exciting new tool in the global fight against the disease. But after 35 years and hundreds of millions of dollars spent in development, some African health professionals are wondering: Is the vaccine worth the cost?

One study estimated that on average, the vaccine will be nearly three times as expensive as distributing bed nets to achieve the same improvements in health. With limited funding available, some in Kenya worry that the money is being misspent. “The nets—that’s our need, for now.”

Read: English / Español / Português

Will LGBT Ugandans Ever Be Free?

Playboy

Photos by Jake Naughton

Inside the Fight for a Queer Country

Just a few years ago, Kampala was a nightmare for LGBTQ Ugandans, some of whom were beaten and stripped in the streets, chased by angry mobs or jailed.

But you wouldn’t guess that from the relaxed atmosphere at Cayenne on Kampala’s north side. Few people seem to notice the transgender woman dancing by the pool, and if they do, they don’t seem to care. Javan belongs to a generation of queer Ugandans barely old enough to remember when the antigay fever first erupted here, in 2009.

Read: Playboy

Resurrection Science

WIRED

George Steinmetz/Corbis

Biologists Could Soon Resurrect Extinct Species. But Should They?

“Until we make space for other species on Earth, it won’t matter how many animals we resurrect,” writes M.R. O’Connor in her book Resurrection Science. “There won’t be many places left for them to exist.”

“Paradoxically, the more we intervene to save species, the less wild they often become.”

Read: WIRED

The Chinese Company Eradicating Malaria in Africa

The Atlantic

Han Haidan

In 2007, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced an ambitious endeavor: To eradicate malaria across the globe.

It was late to the game. That year, Chinese scientists working with a Chinese philanthropist had already begun eradicating malaria from the small African nation of Comoros. Now they’re setting their sights on a more ambitious location: Kenya, the East African nation of nearly 50 million people.

Read: The Atlantic

Listen: The China Africa Podcast

They Call It Canaan

VQR

Allison Shelley

In the aftermath of disaster, Haitians ask what makes a city

Port-au-Prince was decimated when a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti in January 2010. Within weeks, settlements began to appear on a barren landscape, shacks and tents spreading over dusty plains. They called it Canaan, the biblical promised land where Moses led the Israelites out of slavery–the land of milk and honey. “This Canaan has the same history,” one pastor, who was among the first to move there, told me. “This is our honey.”

But in Canaan, as in any city, people—the rich and the poor, the powerful and weak, the complacent and the desperate—were destined to get in one another’s way.

Read: VQR

As featured in Longreads

Vaccinate the Monkeys.

BBC

That’s how to prevent the next pandemic–if these scientists are right.

Move over, Covid-19. Another, far more lethal disease is in danger of erupting once again. Yellow fever infects some 200,000 people and kills 30,000 of them each year–more than terrorist attacks and plane crashes combined. Stopping the next outbreak from jumping from monkeys to humans may require a novel approach: vaccinating our hairy, banana-loving brethren.

Part of our BBC Future series, Stopping The Next One, with Harriet Constable and The Pulitzer Center.

Read: BBC

The coronavirus 10 times more deadly than Covid

Articles, BBC

In northern Kenya, researchers are working to prevent a dangerous coronavirus – MERS – from jumping from camels to humans. But climate change is complicating their task.

Part of our BBC Future series, Stopping The Next One, with Harriet Constable and The Pulitzer Center.

READ: BBC

A Travel Warning for Visitors to the United States

Vocativ

ZUMAPRESS.COM

Typically, the U.S. Department of State issues travel warnings for people heading overseas. Erring on the side of extreme caution, they are often alarmist, comically inflating the risks posed to Americans abroad.

There’s only one country the State Department won’t warn you about. It’s a country where there are almost as many guns as people, where sectarian political opposition lead to complete shutdowns of the nation’s federal government. Here’s how a State Department travel advisory might look for the land of the free.

“Visitors belonging to a minority race should use particular caution when traveling to areas of the United States where police officers may be present. Travelers to the United States have been victims of violent crime including homicide, rape and kidnapping. Those visiting major cities such as New York should therefore avoid crowds.”

Read the full satire at Vocativ

The New Vaccine you Haven’t Heard Of

New Scientist

Eight-year-old Trizah Makungu sits on the bed she shares with her parents, protected by a mosquito net. These nets, which cost about $5 in the local market, have helped save millions of lives. / Lena Mucha

While most of the world is focusing on new vaccines for the coronavirus, thousands of Kenyan children are finally receiving a longed-for malaria vaccine, 37 years after development on it started.

Read: New Scientist
May 1, 2021 edition 

With Support from the European Journalism Centre