Oct 9, 2023
Researchers examine the rise of artemisinin drug resistance in Eritrea - and search for its genetic basis.
Artemisinin – a key antimalarial drug – and other drugs derived from it, are fast losing their effectiveness across South East Asia and increasingly in Africa, too. To investigate this, researchers conducted a review of drug efficacy studies in the East African country of Eritrea. They looked for the rates of delayed parasite clearance in the three days following treatment – a key marker of partial drug resistance. They found a troubling pattern: delayed parasite clearance climbed from 0.4% in 2016 to 1.9% in 2017, followed by a marked increase to 4.2% in 2019. By isolating and sequencing parasitic DNA, they found that this trend was associated with the rise of a novel mutation to the Kelch13 region of the parasite, called R622I. Given the lack of alternative drugs, the emergence of resistance in Africa is concerning.
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The Johns Hopkins Malaria Minute podcast is produced by the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute to highlight impactful malaria research and to share it with the global community.