Malaria Drug Resistance
Malaria medicines are working well in many parts of the world, however, there is serious concern that malaria parasites are once again developing widespread resistance to antimalarial drugs.
Malaria remains one of the most devastating infectious diseases with approximately 212 million infections and 429,000 deaths each year - primarily children under the age of 5 in sub-Saharan Africa.
Plasmodium falciparum, the deadliest form of the malaria parasite, is responsible for the vast majority of the mortality and morbidity associated with malaria infection. Artemisinin Combination Therapies, or ACTs, are currently the frontline treatments against P. falciparum malaria. Although these treatments are working well in many parts of the world, there is serious concern that malaria parasites are once again developing widespread resistance to this vital treatment.
As the threat of antimalarial drug resistance grows, there is increasing pressure to sustain the efficacy of existing treatments, develop alternative treatments, as well putting in place preventative measures such as bednets.
Key drivers of antimalarial drug resistance
- Unusual genetic structure of malaria parasites in regions known for antimalarial drug resistance
- Counterfeit or substandard treatments
- Unregulated or poorly administered antimalarial drug use
- Artemisinin drug use without a complementary combination treatment, such as lumefantrine
What is the WWARN network doing to stop this?
- Facilitate Study Groups to generate pooled analyses to understand the impact of inadequate drug dosage in key subpopulations
- Advocate for better understanding of the impact of poor quality drugs on malaria control through the work of the Drug Quality Group
- Design data visualisation and mapping tools to track the spread of resistance - these can be used to inform government-lead surveillance strategies
- Develop freely available tools, resources and training courses to provide regional researchers with the knowledge and skills to generate high-quality antimalarial clinical data
- Publication | 31 Jul 2014 Spread of Artemisinin Resistance in Plasmodium falciparum Malaria
- Publication | 11 Sep 2013 Tracking artemisinin resistance in Plasmodium falciparum
- Publication | 18 Feb 2015 Spread of artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum in Myanmar: a cross-sectional survey of the K13 molecular marker.