Chloroquine making a comeback as malaria treatment

Scientists monitoring disease resistance recently reported that chloroquine, once a frontline malaria drug, appears to be becoming more effective once again at treating the mosquito-borne illness.

Healthcare professionals fear that the malaria parasite will quickly develop a resistance to artemisinin-based combination therapies, so it is welcome news that an inexpensive and well-known alternative may one day be used again to treat malaria victims, according to

In a study conducted by the University of Copenhagen and published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, researchers demonstrated that malaria parasites are more susceptible to chloroquine in several African countries.

"Seventy percent of the malaria parasites we found in Senegal are reacting once again to chloroquine. This is a trend we have also seen in Tanzania and Mozambique, and which other researchers have shown in Malawi," Michael Alifrangis, an associate professor at the Center for Medical Parasitology at the University of Copenhagen, said, reports. "Our choice of drugs against malaria is limited and related, so when the malaria parasite once again reacts to a substance, it influences several treatment methods."

The treatment was considered highly efficacious for nearly 50 years before the malaria parasite developed a resistance to it. It costs 25 cents for a four day treatment, in comparison to ACTs, which can cost up to two dollars.

"Chloroquine was a fantastic malaria drug that lasted for 50 years," Dr. Ib Bygbjerg of the University of Copenhagen said, reports. "However, it was misused for malaria prevention and ordinary fever, and even mixed with cooking salt, so it can come as no surprise that the malaria parasite became resistant to the active ingredient."