Thursday, February 20, 2014

Stepping up the fight against drug-resistant malaria in southeast Asia

IRIN: Efforts are being scaled up to stem a further spread of drug-resistant malaria in Southeast Asia.

“The emergence of resistance… threatens worldwide malaria control and treatment since there is no alternative to this drug if its efficacy decreases further and the resistance spreads outside the region,” wrote the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which is providing some US$150 million for malaria prevention and elimination programmes in the Greater Mekong sub-region within the next two years.

The region includes southern China, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar.

In 2008, artemisinin-resistant malaria was first discovered in Cambodia’s Pailin Province along the Thai border, which immediately alarmed health experts.

About 60 years earlier, malaria strains had also developed resistance against chloroquine, then the most common drug to treat malaria. A spread of resistance could not be stopped, and several years later, chloroquine was deemed useless globally…

CDC image of plasmodium falciparum

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