Medical test to detect drug-resistant malaria developed by researchers
Parasite that causes mosquito-borne disease developing resistance
A quick-acting blood test to determine the malaria parasite\'s resistance to artemisinin is helping overburdened doctors in developing nations. Regretfully, the parasite that causes the disease is swiftly becoming more resistant to artemisinin, which remains the most effective drug available to treat the disease.
Malaria continues to kill and sicken those across the Third World. More than 200 million people are infected with malaria each year, with a death toll as high as 1.2 million.
The greatest hedge against the onslaught of the disease is dwindling. "Now what we are seeing is that patients, like for example in Pursat where I work," Rick Fairhurst, a clinical investigator with the U.S. National Institutes of Health in Maryland says. "We have about 60 percent of people [that] still have parasites at 72 hours, which suggests that these parasites could persist in the patient, which results in them not being cured,\" he says, noting that most malaria patients used to be cured with three doses of artemisinin administered over a three-day period. Pursat province is an area in western Cambodia.
Fairhurst, working with Cambodian and French researchers developed a rapid blood test that measures how quickly the malaria parasites in blood samples were killed or weakened by the active ingredient in artemisinin.
Survival rates for the parasites were measured 72 hours after exposure to the artemisinin. If the parasite was still active at that point, the researchers determined that it was unlikely to respond to the drug.
Researchers confirmed these findings in patients infected with malaria. It was found that parasites in blood samples taken from people with drug-resistant infections had only a tepid response to artemisinin.
A test such as this could help public health officials find areas of drug resistance and map its spread. Fairhurst notes that the blood test could also be used to follow individuals treated with artemisinin.
"And if eventually we find if parasites are at a certain level of resistance in the laboratory, they have a certain probability of coming back in the patient, we can then say, \'Okay, this person is not likely to [be cured of their infection],\' and we can come on top with a second drug,\" he said.
There are a couple of newer, more expensive anti-malarial agents that could be used. Experts fear that these too would eventually become ineffective against the parasite.
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2013
General Intention: Victimized Children. That children who are victims of abandonment or violence may find the love and protection they need.
Missionary Intention: Prepare the Savior's Coming. That Christians, enlightened by the Word incarnate, may prepare humanity for the Savior's coming.
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Health News
- Exercise reduces chances of dementia, lengthy study concludes
- Obamacare crashing in model states like California as 70 percent of doctors opt out
- New hepatitis-C drug approved by FDA
- Donors from around the world say that an AIDS-free generation may be within sight
- Washington signing up more people for Medicaid than private plans
- Man documents ravages of diabetes to his feet as they decay within 10 DAYS
- Dementia epidemic only growing worse: 135 million sufferers could arrive by 2050
- Men are from Mars, Women from Venus? Their brains are certainly wired differently
- Drinking water from plastic cups, bottles may be causing migraine headaches
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?