Malaria-drug monitoring over the past 30 years has shown that malaria parasites develop resistance to medicine, and the first signs of resistance to the newest drugs have just been observed. At the same time, resistance monitoring at the University of Copenhagen shows that the previously efficacious drug chloroquine is once again beginning to work against malaria. In time that will ensure cheaper treatment for the world’s poor.
Scientists and healthcare personnel the world over fear that the malaria parasite will develop resistance to the current frontline treatment against malaria, Artemisinin-based Combination Therapies (ACTs). Therefore, it is especially good news that resistance monitoring at the University of Copenhagen shows that in several African countries, malaria parasites are succumbing to the formerly used drug chloroquine. The results have just been published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.
“70% of the malaria parasites we found in Senegal are reacting once again to chloroquine. This is a trend we have also seen in Tanzania and Mozambique, and which other researchers have shown in Malawi. Our choice of drugs against malaria is limited and related, so when the malaria parasite once again reacts to a substance, it influences several treatment methods,” explains Michael Alifrangis, associate professor at the Center for Medical Parasitology at the University of Copenhagen. He and Magatte Ndiaye, PhD student at Université Cheikh Anta Diop in Senegal, are keeping an eye on the malaria parasite’s sensitivity to drugs by analyzing the parasites’ DNA.