Malaria research in Laos
LOMWRU conducts clinical malaria research in Savannakhet and Attapeu Provinces, southern Laos, in collaboration with the Centre for Malariology, Parasitology and Entomology, Vientiane and the provincial malaria stations. Clinical trials and malaria epidemiology studies are conducted and run by Assoc. Professor Mayfong Mayxay, Head of Field Research at LOMWRU.
Clinical trials have provided evidence that artemisinin combination therapies (ACTs) are locally appropriate treatment for Plasmodium falciparum malaria and are superior to chloroquine and sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine. In response to these and other trials the Government of Lao PDR changed to artemether-lumefantrine for the treatment of uncomplicated malaria in 2005.
Artemisinin resistant falciparum malaria was recently described in southern Laos as part of the Tracking Resistance to Artemisinins Collaboration (TRAC), funded by DFID (UK). We are now mapping the distribution of molecular markers of artemisinin resistance in southern Laos, determining the extent of asymptomatic falciparum parasitaemia and investigating the efficacy of chloroquine for the treatment of vivax malaria.