MALARIA: Parasite resistance to artemisinin derivatives now affecting Africa
Resistance to artemisinin, the main component of the current antimalarial treatments recommended by WHO, is already widespread in South-East Asia, but it had not previously been described in Africa. Scientists recently detected the emergence and spread of malaria parasites capable of resisting artemisinin derivatives for the first time in Rwanda.
Malaria, caused by parasites of the genus Plasmodium, represents a major public health problem. Almost 3.2 billion people (virtually half the world’s population) in 89 countries are at risk of contracting the disease, for which there is currently no vaccine. Every year, over 200 million cases and over 400,000 deaths are recorded.
Since 2014, the geographical distribution of artemisinin resistance has been monitored based on the detection of mutations in the Kelch13 gene in parasites.