Multi-drug resistant malaria increasing

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Scientists recently conducted in vitro exams of malaria parasites and found that these parasites are developing a widespread resistance to a variety of anti-malarial drugs, which will make it more difficult to treat malaria.

The research was led by Francoise Benoit-Vical, Inserm research director in the French National Centre for Scientific Research Coordination Chemistry Laboratory with Inserm and the Pasteur Institute.

The in vitro parasites previously had been exposed to only artemisinin, which is the base compound for the standard malarial therapy.

The new resistance is not detectable by tests that are currently used.

This is discouraging news to the international health care community, which has successfully reduced the number of malaria-related deaths over the last 10 years. 

"In vitro tests carried out using the patient's blood predict high sensitivity and, therefore, the treatment's effectiveness, while parasites are resistant because they are quiescent,” Benoit-Vical said. “As such, it is essential to conduct research with relevant and appropriate tests in the field if the multi-resistant phenomenon that we identified in vitro is also present, in order to design therapeutic strategies accordingly."

Further details have been published in the Emerging Infectious Diseases journal.

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