Oxford study shows 'inefficient' malaria therapies show some benefits

Inefficient antimalarial therapies still helpful in treating malaria | Courtesy of
Scientists from Oxford University recently discovered that one of the more effective methods of treating malaria is implementing the drugs that are typically inefficient.

The traditional drug used to treat malaria is artemisinin. It is highly efficient in saving people from dying from malaria, but the parasites that cause malaria have grown increasingly resistant to the drug.

This is why the scientists developed a computer-simulation study that demonstrates that using a non-artemisinin therapy along with more efficient artemisinin-based combination therapies may be the best way to treat malaria while also decreasing the growth of drug-resistance in malaria.

The combined treatments appeared to work even if the non-artemisinin drug showed that it was efficient only 85 percent of the time that it was used to treat the virus.

“But the nightmare we all want to avoid is the establishment of artemisinin resistance in Africa, where hundreds of millions of individuals rely on artemisinin-based therapies as their first-line antimalarial treatment,” Maciej Boni, from the Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine at Oxford, said. “By deploying different antimalarial therapies simultaneously -- including non-artemisinin-based therapies -- national malaria control programs in Africa should be able to slow down the spread of artemisinin-resistant parasites when they are imported into the continent.”

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