First drug-resistant malaria parasite detected in Africa

Terra Daily – February 22, 2017

For the first time in Africa, researchers said Wednesday they have detected a malaria parasite that is partially resistant to the top anti-malaria drug, artemisinin, raising concern about efforts to fight a disease that sickens hundreds of millions of people each year.

The discovery means that Africa now joins southeast Asia in hosting such drug-resistant forms of the mosquito-borne disease.

Malaria infected more than 200 million people and killed some 438,000 people worldwide in 2015, most of them children in Africa.

“The spread of artemisinin resistance in Africa would be a major setback in the fight against malaria, as ACT (artemisinin-based combination therapy) is the only effective and widely used antimalarial treatment at the moment,” said lead author Arnab Pain, professor at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology.

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