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Photo Bengal, India (c) UN Women/ Anindit Roy Chowdhury

Reports of artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Eastern India

11 December 2018

A recent letter in the New England Journal of Medicine has been published summarising a 2013-2014 study in the lower Ganges delta region, West Bengal State, India in which 5 of 136 patients exhibited slow clearance of parasites after a standard 3 day treatment with the antimalarials SP-Artesunate.

Sabyasachi Das and colleagues have shared preliminary results in the New England Journal of Medicine in a letter entitled ‘Evidence of Artemisinin-Resistant Plasmodium falciparum Malaria in Eastern India’.

The letter summarises a 2013-2014 study in the lower Ganges delta region, West Bengal State, India in which 5 of 136 patients exhibited slow clearance of parasites after a standard 3 day treatment with antimalarials SP-Artesunate. Parasites from these 5 patients all carried a pfk13 propeller mutation, 4 at codon G625R and the fifth, at codon R539T.

A molecular survey in Gabon in 2014 identified parasites carrying the G625R mutant with no associated phenotype information.

However, parasites with the R539T mutation have been associated with prolonged parasite clearance after ACT treatment in Cambodia and the eastern part of the Greater Mekong Sub-region.  

Philippe Geurin, Director of WWARN comments 'We hope that it will be urgently investigated whether these particular genotypes have expanded in the parasite population in the West Bengal study site since 2014. We look forward to reading follow up results from this study.'

Read the letter: Evidence of Artemisinin-Resistant Plasmodium falciparum Malaria in Eastern India

See also their latest publication Das et alNovel pfkelch13 gene polymorphism associates with artemisinin resistance in eastern India. 9 December 2018. Clinical Infectious Diseases