Malaria: Artemisinin resistance emerges now in Africa

Cases of resistance to the anti-malarial drug artemisinin have been identified in Rwanda, the first time this “major public health threat” has been discovered in Africa.

Artemisinin resistance is widespread across South-East Asia, but researchers say that until now it had not been reported in Africa, where 93 per cent of the world’s 228 million malaria cases and 94 per cent of the more than 400,000 deaths occur each year.

Chloroquine was the favoured first-line antimalarial treatment in the 1960s, before resistance developed in the Greater Mekong subregion and spread to Africa. This was followed by resistance to pyrimethamine, used in association with sulfadoxine, says the research team from institutes including the Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC), the Pasteur Institute, and the World Health Organization.


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