News page September 2017
Scientists are becoming very concerned about a “super malaria” parasite which is spreading through South East Asia at an alarming rate. The parasite, spread by mosquitoes cannot be killed with any of the current anti-malaria drugs.
The strain was first found in Cambodia back in 2007 but has now spread to parts of Thailand, Laos and is now in Vietnam. Experts are warning that urgent action needs to be taken before it spreads any further.
Head of the Oxford Tropical Medicine Research unit at the Mahidol University in Bangkok, Professor Dondorp said “We think it is a serious threat, it is alarming that this strain is spreading so quickly through the whole region and we fear it can spread further (and eventually) jump to Africa.” He went on to say that treatment was failing around a third of the time in Vietnam while in some areas of Cambodia the failure rate was closer to 60%. If this resistance to the drugs reached Africa there could be devastating consequences as this is where cases of all malaria cases are found. “It’s a race against the clock – we have to eliminate it before malaria becomes untreatable again and we see a lot of deaths, if I’m honest, I’m quite worried”.
In a letter which was published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases, the people involved with the research said it was a “recent sinister development” with “alarming rates of failure”.