Cases of drug-resistant malaria have been multiplying in Southeast Asia, particularly along the border of India and Myanmar, in what health experts are warning is a “huge threat” to global health that will require “vigorous international effort” to contain.
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The strain has been found in Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, and Vietnam, according to a report published in Lancet Infectious Diseases.
The location of the outbreak is important, Thailand-based medical researcher and report co-author Dr. Charles Woodrow told the BBC on Thursday. “[T]hat’s clearly a threat and in the future is likely to lead to extension of the problem to neighboring areas,” he said.
The medication in question is artemisinin, which is typically given as part of a combination therapy. Resistance to artemisinin would “inevitably” lead to its failure, Woodrow continued. “If this were to spread into India, malaria will continue to affect rural populations there, but there may not be an immediate effect on cure-rate.”
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