Drug-Resistant Malaria Parasite

Drug-Resistant Malaria ParasiteDrug-Resistant Malaria Parasite

A drug-resistant malaria parasite found in South East Asia can also infect mosquito species in Africa, a study shows.

Transmission experiments carried out in a laboratory suggest that the spread of this deadly strain into the continent is possible, BBC News reported. Scientists say the consequences of this would be dire, putting millions of lives at risk. Dr Rick Fairhurst, from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) who carried out the research, said: “We think this will provide additional impetus for intensifying malaria elimination efforts in South East Asia.”

The parasite was first seen in Cambodia in 2008, but has since been reported across South East Asia. It is rendering the best front-line drug - Artemisinin - useless. The World Health Organization estimates that in the last 15 years malaria death rates fell by 60% globally and 6.2 million deaths were averted. Artemisinin has played a key role in the fight against malaria.