BREAKING NEWS (23rd-31st July) Resistant malaria spreading in South East Asia 0/2
BREAKING NEWS (23rd-31st July) Resistant malaria spreading in South East Asia
Resistant malaria spreading in South East Asia
Malaria parasites resistant to key drugs have spread rapidly in South East Asia, researchers from the UK and Thailand say.
The parasites have moved from Cambodia to Laos. Thailand and Vietnam, where half of patients are not being cured by first-choice drugs.
Researchers say the findings raise the “terrifying prospect” drug-resistance could spread to Africa. However, experts said implications may not be as severe as first thought.
Malaria is commonly treated with a combination of two drugs -artemisinin and piperaquine-.The drug combo was introduced in Cambodia in 2008.
But by 2013, the first cases of the parasite mutating and developing resistance to both drugs were detected, in western parts of the country.
Huge progress has been made towards eliminating malaria. However, the development of drug resistance threatens that progress.
The other issue is if the resistance spreads further and reaches Africa, where more than nine in 10 cases of the disease are.
“The highly successful resistant parasite strain is capable of invading new territories and acquiring new genetic properties, raising the terrifying prospect that it could spread to Africa, where most malaria cases occur, as resistance to chlooroquine did in the 1980´s, contributing to millions of deaths,” Prof Olivo Miotto, from the Welcome Sanger Institute and University of Oxford, said.
All the efforts around controlling the mosquitoes that spread the disease will not change, however, the researchers say the drugs people are given after infection should change.