The Threat of Artemisinin-Resistant Malaria

An article co-authored by MORU’s Professor Arjen Dondorp and published in the New England Journal of Medicine highlights the challenges posed by the emergence of artemisinin resistant malaria parasites on the Cambodia-Thailand border, and what this means for the worldwide fight against malaria.

The threat posed by artemisinin-resistant malaria requires an effective response that ensures that critical operational and basic research questions be answered quickly. The authors call on researchers, funders, and policy leaders to recognize the urgency of the problem and take action to address the important knowledge gaps, and highlight that it is essential to share data and research tools.

In the last decade, artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) and insecticide-treated nets have contributed to significant reductions of the malaria burden in many areas of the world. Losing the artemisinins to resistance would be a disaster for the control and treatment of malaria and would bring eradication efforts to a standstill.

MORU is currently leading the “Tracking Resistance to Artemisinins Collaboration” (TRAC), a unique multicentre multinational collaboration, funded by DFID, to describe the epidemiology of artemisinin resistant falciparum malaria in the region and beyond, which also provides a unique platform for basic research into the biology and molecular mechanisms underlying artemisinin resistance.

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