Malaria superbugs spreading across Asia
Singapore: Malarial parasites are again spreading havoc through Asia with many multi drug resistant varieties threatening to undermine progress against the disease, scientists said. The team said that many drug resistant varieties have taken hold in parts of Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. As per reports, the superbugs are resistant to the best drugs, artemisinin and piperaquine. “The emergence and spread of artemisin in drug resistant P falciparum lineage represents a serious threat to global malaria control. We are losing a dangerous race,” said Nicholas White, a professor at Oxford University and Mahidol University in Thailand, who co-led the research. Scientists said that after examining blood samples from malaria patients in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Myanmar, they found that a single mutant parasite lineage, known as PfKelch13 C580Y, has spread across three countries. They explained that while the C580Y mutation does not necessarily make the parasite more drug resistant, it does have other qualities that make it more risky -notably it appears to be fitter, more transmissible and able to spreading more widely. Malaria kills more than 420,000 people each year. Most victims are children under five living in the poorest parts of sub-Saharan Africa. Malaria specialists said emerging drug resistance in Asia was now one of the most serious threats to that progress.