Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Dogma among researchers exaggerates threat of resistance to best anti-malarial drugs, says malaria expert

Date:
April 25, 2013
Source:
University of St George's London
Summary:
Exaggeration over the extent of the malaria parasite’s resistance to the ‘wonder drugs’ artemisinins could jeopardise the fight against the disease, according to a leading expert.

Exaggeration over the extent of the malaria parasite's resistance to the 'wonder drugs' artemisinins could jeopardise the fight against the disease, according to a leading expert.

Related Articles


In an opinion article published on World Malaria Day today (25 April 2013) -- online in the journal Trends in Parasitology, Professor Sanjeev Krishna of St George's, University of London argues that much of the evidence of the malaria parasite's resistance to artemisinin has been misinterpreted. He says this has led to the extent of artemisinin resistance being overstated, and that fears of its demise as an effective treatment are premature.

The artemisinin class of drugs are the best anti-malarial treatments available, and are used most effectively with other drugs as artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs). Recent research has suggested that the malaria parasite is developing resistance to ACTs, particularly in Southeast Asia. Experts fear that if artemisinins became obsolete -- as previous anti-malarials have -- the effect could be devastating, as there are currently no other effective alternatives.

However, Professor Krishna argues that -- despite being accepted as dogma by the malaria research community -- most of the descriptions of artemisinin resistance do not meet the criteria by which resistance to other anti-malarials and drugs for other diseases have been measured.

For true resistance to exist, according to criteria used for other drugs, there needs to be: a significant failure in treatment (by not meeting the World Health Organization's target of a 95 per cent cure rate 28 days after treatment); a reduced sensitivity to the drug when the parasite is examined in the lab; and a visible delay in ridding the patient of parasites.

Currently, Professor Krishna says, it seems to be accepted that artemisinin treatment failure has occurred when a three-day course of ACT does not meet the target cure rate. This has been observed in a number of studies and has been used to try and understand 'artemisinin resistance.'

But other studies of seven-day courses of artemisinin monotherapies -- in which artemisinins are used alone, without partner drugs -- have shown up to 100 per cent cure rates after 28 days.

This, Professor Krishna, says, indicates proof of resistance to ACTs, but that there is no compelling evidence that artemisinins themselves are becoming less effective. He says this resistance will usually "be to a combination of an artemisinin with another drug against which there is usually a high background of resistance already."

"Contending that there is artemisinin resistance when cure of patients relies on the partner drug of an artemisinin is difficult to substantiate without additional studies," writes Professor Krishna. "It is more appropriate to describe the lack of observed efficacy as resistance to an artemisinin combination therapy rather than as being artemisinin resistance."

He adds that "crying wolf" and raising fears of artemisinin resistance when it is not yet proven "will itself have significant costs, so that when the wolf finally turns up, exhausted villagers no longer respond."

To ensure better understanding of when true artemisinin resistance occurs, and to learn how to fight it, Professor Krishna says there needs to be further research into the how the drugs work against the parasite. He also urges the development of molecular markers to predict the failure of the partner drugs used in ACTs, as well as further studies on artemisinin monotherapies.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of St George's London. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of St George's London. "Dogma among researchers exaggerates threat of resistance to best anti-malarial drugs, says malaria expert." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130424222422.htm>.
University of St George's London. (2013, April 25). Dogma among researchers exaggerates threat of resistance to best anti-malarial drugs, says malaria expert. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 4, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130424222422.htm
University of St George's London. "Dogma among researchers exaggerates threat of resistance to best anti-malarial drugs, says malaria expert." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130424222422.htm (accessed March 4, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Adults Only Get The Flu Twice A Decade, Researchers Say

Adults Only Get The Flu Twice A Decade, Researchers Say

Newsy (Mar. 4, 2015) Researchers found adults only get the flu about once every five years. Scientists analyzed how a person&apos;s immunity builds up over time as well. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mount Everest Has a Poop Problem

Mount Everest Has a Poop Problem

Buzz60 (Mar. 4, 2015) With no bathrooms to use, climbers of Mount Everest have been leaving human waste on the mountain for years, and it&apos;s becoming a health issue. Mike Janela (@mikejanela) has more. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Tips to 'Skinny' Your Home

The Best Tips to 'Skinny' Your Home

Buzz60 (Mar. 4, 2015) If you&apos;re looking to reach your health goals this season, there are a few simple tips to help you spring clean your space and improve your nutrition. Krystin Goodwin (@krystingoodwin) has the skinny on keeping a healthy home. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Analysis: Supreme Court Hears ACA Challenge

Analysis: Supreme Court Hears ACA Challenge

AP (Mar. 4, 2015) Associated Press legal reporter Mark Sherman breaks down the details of the latest Affordable Care Act challenge to make it to the Supreme Court. (March 4) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins