Africa fear for deadly malaria strain

Malaria ParasiteImage copyright
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Drug-resistant forms of the malaria parasite have been found in South East Asia

A drug-resistant malaria parasite found in South East Asia can also infect mosquito species in Africa, a study shows.

The transmission experiments were carried out in a laboratory, but they suggest the spread of this deadly strain into the continent is possible.

The scientists say the consequences of this would be dire, putting millions of lives at risk.

The study is published in the journal Nature Communications.

Dr Rick Fairhurst, from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID), in the US, who carried out the research, said: “We think this will provide additional impetus for intensifying – and by intensifying, I mean grossly intensifying – the malaria elimination efforts in South East Asia.”

Jumping species

This drug-resistant parasite was first seen in Cambodia in 2008, but has since been reported across South East Asia.

It is rendering the best front-line drug – Artemisinin – useless.

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