Drug-Resistant Malaria Strain ‘Invades’ South-East Asia

Drug-Resistant Malaria Strain ‘Invades’ South-East Asia

Regions in Southeast Asia are facing difficulties with a drug-resistant malaria strain. Countries such as Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand have encountered this malaria type. The two primary medicines designed to combat the virus are proving less effective at their task.

Malaria spread rate

Scientists have tracked the spread of the virus, in its drug-resistant form, and it is believed it originated from nearby Cambodia. Genomic surveillance has been used to track the malaria strain designated KEL1/PLA1. Which has suffered genetic mutations to evolve past its vulnerabilities to the anti-malaria drugs.

The quick spread of the new strain has replaced other strains in local areas, becoming the dominant, most powerful virus in the whole region.

The concern

Mosquito bites usually spread malaria. They release Plasmodium parasites into the bloodstream when they bite. It shows symptoms such as fever, tiredness, and headaches, but it can lead to seizures, comas, and death.

The virus is a severe worldwide issue as 220 million people were infected in 2017. The World Health Organization estimates that 400.000 were killed as a result of the infection. The majority of cases occurred in sub-Saharan Africa.

The solution against drug-resistant malaria strain

Drugs can treat the disease if it is in the early stages. The issue lies with growing resistance to the drugs, as we see in Southeast Asia. The last decade has seen a combination of medications called DHA-PPQ be effective in combating malaria in Asia. The drug has been a lifesaver until recently. The new drug-resistant malaria strain has been mutating and spreading across Southeast Asia between 2007 and 2013.

With the evolution of the malaria virus, it will be a matter of time until the current drugs we have will be completely ineffective. All hope is not lost, however, as research can be done into creating new types of drugs that can fight the virus at the very least.

Anna Daniels

Anna is an avid blogger with an educational background in medicine and mental health. She is a generalist with many other interests including nutrition, women's health, astronomy and photography. In her free time from work and writing, Anna enjoys nature walks, reading, and listening to jazz and classical music.

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