Researchers have quelled fears that a drug-resistant malaria is spreading to the African continent.
The artemisinin-based combination therapy recommended for the treatment of malaria in combination with one of several other malaria drugs can typically eliminate the malaria parasite from people’s blood within two days. Unfortunately, drug resistance has increased throughout malaria endemic areas, especially Southeast Asia.
A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that although artemisinin resistance is prevalent in Asia, the drug remains effective in Africa, where 80 per cent of malaria cases are found.
Dr. Dylan Pillai, associate professor in the Cumming School of Medicine, at the University of Calgary and one of the researchers says it is encouraging that the medical field can continue treating malaria with artemisinin and that the mutations that cause resistance are not being found at a high frequency in Africa.