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Malaria drugs left ineffective by spread of multidrug resistant parasites in southeast Asia

BMJ 2019; 366 doi: (Published 22 July 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;366:l4807
  1. Elisabeth Mahase
  1. The BMJ

Multidrug resistant forms of the most lethal species of malaria causing parasite Plasmodium falciparum have evolved even higher levels of resistance to antimalarial drugs and spread rapidly since 2015 in regions of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The findings come from two new studies12 published in Lancet Infectious Diseases, which found the spread of the multidrug resistant parasites have caused high treatment failure rates to a widely used frontline malaria drug combination—dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DHA-PPQ).

Researchers are now calling for the use of DHA-PPQ to be abandoned in the affected countries, as well as an accelerated malaria elimination programme to prevent the resistant malaria spreading further and causing a global health emergency.

Antimalarial treatments mainly involve artemisinin combination therapies (ACTs) that …

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