Drug-resistant malaria extends to Africa

Drug-resistant malaria extends to Africa
Drug-resistant malaria extends to Africa | Courtesy of

Scientists with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a branch of the National Institutes of Health, recently discovered that drug-resistant malaria parasites have the ability to spread via mosquito species in Africa.

The findings show that Africa is at a higher risk for drug-resistant malaria infections that health professionals originally thought. This risk could limit the efforts that are being made to prevent and eventually eliminate malaria from the country.

The P. falciparum parasites are resistant against artemisinin, which is the major drug that doctors use to treat malaria. These parasites have quickly spread throughout Southeast Asia, which has made it more challenging to control as well as treat malaria infections in that region.

Health professionals were concerned about this parasite spreading throughout Africa, but there had not been any proof that Anopheles coluzzii mosquitos could contract these parasites. This study provided the first scientific hints that P. falciparum could extend to Africa, as Anopheles coluzzii is the main species that transmits malaria to people in Africa.

When the researchers infected a wide range of mosquito species from Africa and Southeast Asia with parasites resistant to artemisinin, they found that the parasites infected A. coluzzi as quickly as Anopheles minimus and Anopheles dirus.

Organizations in this Story

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) National Institutes of Health

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