Resistance to artemisinin, the main drug to treat malaria, is now widespread throughout Southeast Asia, among the Plasmodium falciparum (P. falciparum) parasites that cause the disease and is likely caused by a genetic mutation in the parasites. However, a six-day course of artemisinin-based combination therapy-as opposed to a standard three-day course-has proved highly effective in treating drug-resistant malaria cases, according to findings published today in the New England Journal of Medicine. The research was conducted by an international team of scientists including those from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.
EA Ashley et al. The spread of artemisinin resistance in falciparum malaria. New England Journal of Medicine DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1314981.
NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., is available to comment on this research. Rick M. Fairhurst, M.D., Ph.D., chief of the Malaria Pathogenesis and Human Immunity Unit in the NIAID Laboratory of Malaria and Vector Research, is a co-author on the paper and is also available for comment.
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