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Dublin: 17 °C Sunday 31 May, 2020

New test for drug resistant malaria unveiled

A new test will cut down on the labour and time it takes to test for certain strains of malaria.

Controlling the number of mosquitos can reduce the spread of malaria.
Controlling the number of mosquitos can reduce the spread of malaria.
Image: Wikimedia Commons

SCIENTISTS WILL BE able to tell if a form of malaria is resistant to  drugs for the first time, thanks to a new test.

More than 200 million people are infected with a malaria parasite that kills between 600,000 and 1.2 million people every year. Control of the disease is largely dependent on the use of artemisinin combination treatments (ACTs).

However, should these fail, there are no other widespread drugs ready to fight the disease.

Currently, the ability of the drugs to fight malarial parasites is monitored by checking blood samples every six to eight hours for days after treatment.

Speaking to The Lancet, study leader Didier Menard said:

“In the race against time to stop the spread of artemisinin-resistant malaria, new diagnostic tools are urgently needed to identify and track resistant parasites.

“These simple in-vitro and ex-vivo ring-stage survival assays (RSAs) can clearly identify artemisinin-resistant, slow-clearing Plasmodium falciparum parasites in people with malaria, and can deliver results much faster than the current clinical approach* used to monitor response to drugs in patients.”

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