Creating a free account will enable you to subscribe to our daily and weekly email newsletters, as well as customize your reading experience to show only the categories most relevant to you.
Signing up only take a few minutes, so why not give it a try and see what you've been missing out on.
An international team of researchers has discovered a way to identify, at a molecular level, malaria-causing Plasmodium falciparum parasites that are resistant to artemisinin, the key drug for treating this disease. The research team, which included scientists from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, published their findings in the journal Nature.
According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 627,000 people died of malaria in 2012. Artemisinin, in combination with other drugs, is the first-line treatment for malaria. In recent years, however, artemisinin-resistant malaria has appeared in patients in Southeast Asia, and researchers have begun exploring ways to maintain the drug's effectiveness. To monitor the spread of artemisinin resistance, scientists need a way to identify drug-resistant, malaria-causing parasites, the study authors write. They sought to fill this need by sequencing the complete genetic information of a laboratory-generated strain of artemisinin-resistant P. falciparum, and of both resistant and susceptible parasites found in nature in Cambodia, and then searching for links between the parasites' genes and resistance to the drug.
The researchers found that P. falciparum parasites with a mutant version of a gene called K13-propeller were more likely to survive exposure to artemisinin in the laboratory setting. Similarly, in malaria patients treated with the drug, parasites with the genetic mutation were eliminated more slowly. Further, they found that the geographical distribution of the genetic mutation in parasites in western Cambodia tracked with the spread of resistance among malaria patients in that region in recent years. Taken together, these results suggest that the mutant version of K13-propeller is associated with artemisinin resistance, according to the researchers. Future research will examine how the mutation causes resistance and explore whether this association extends to other regions of the world.
Rick M. Fairhurst, M.D., Ph.D., chief of the Malaria Pathogenesis and Human Immunity Unit in NIAID's Laboratory of Malaria and Vector Research, is available to discuss the findings.
Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click 'references' tab above for source.
Visit our Tropical Diseases category page for the latest news on this subject.
Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious D. "Genetic marker of resistance to key malaria drug identified." Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 28 Dec. 2013. Web.
10 Mar. 2014. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/270458>
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious D. (2013, December 28). "Genetic marker of resistance to key malaria drug identified." Medical News Today. Retrieved from
Please note: If no author information is provided, the source is cited instead.
If you write about specific medications, operations, or procedures please do not name healthcare professionals by name.
For any corrections of factual information, or to contact our editorial team, please use our feedback form. Please send any medical news or health news press releases to:
Note: Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a health care professional. For more information, please read our terms and conditions.
This page was printed from: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/270458.php
Visit www.medicalnewstoday.com for medical news and health news headlines posted throughout the day, every day.
© 2004-2014 All rights reserved. MNT (logo) is the registered trade mark of MediLexicon International Limited.