Malaria in Africa: Parasite resistant to artemisinin – BBC News

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The malaria parasite is spread out by the bite of contaminated mosquitoes

A drug-resistant pressure of the parasite that causes malaria has actually been determined by scientists in Rwanda.
The study, released in Nature, found the parasites had the ability to resist treatment by artemisinin – a frontline drug in the battle versus the disease.
This is the first time researchers have actually observed the resistance to the drug artemisinin in Africa.
The scientists cautions that this “would position a major public health danger” in the continent.

Researchers from the Institut Pasteur, in collaboration with the National Malaria Control Program in Rwanda (Rwanda Biomedical Center), the World Health Organization (WHO), Cochin Hospital and Columbia University (New York, USA) analysed blood samples from clients in Rwanda.

They found one particular mutation of the parasite, resistant to artemisinin, in 19 of 257 – or 7.4% – of patients at one of the health centres they kept track of.
Advancement of parasites
In the journal post the scientists cautioned that malaria parasites that developed a resistance to previous drugs are “suspected to have actually added to countless extra malaria deaths in young African children in the 1980s”.
When the very first malaria drug, chloroquine, was established, scientists thought that the illness would be removed within years.
Given that the 1950s the parasites have actually evolved to develop resistance to successive drugs.

Malaria infection is now commonly treated with a mix of two drugs – artemisinin and piperaquine.
Then malaria parasites began establishing a resistance to artemisinin as well – this was very first taped in 2008 in South East Asia.
At the time scientists they feared that resistance to artemisinin could likewise happen in Africa and have devastating consequences
The research suggests that these fears might have been understood.
In 2018, African nations accounted for over 90% of the more than 400,000 deaths from malaria recorded.

This is a highly substantial and deeply stressing minute. Today marks an obstacle in the fight against the malaria.
Resistance to artemisinin is not brand-new as it has actually remained in parts of South East Asia for more than a years.
In some areas there, 80% of patients are now infected with malaria parasites that resist treatment.
But Africa has actually constantly been the biggest concern – it is where more than nine in 10 cases of the illness are.
It appears as though the resistance developed in malaria parasites in Africa rather than spreading out from South East Asia to the continent.
The outcome, however, is the exact same – malaria is getting harder to treat.

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Professor Lang Linfu, who was one of the researchers included in its discovery of artemisinin, describes how he made the development.

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Media captionProfessor Lang Linfu