A new study has discovered resistant parasites to artemisinin — a major anti-malaria drug — in Rwanda, the first of such to be recorded in Africa.
Before the research, malaria immune parasites to artemisinin prevailed in south-east Asia– an advancement that began when the region recorded its very first case in 2008.
The outcomes indicate an expanding pattern of the immune parasites in the nation, with 19 out of 257 people examined in some of the centres discovered to have one certain mutation.
Popular anti-malaria drugs in Nigeria formulated of artemisinin contain: Coartem (Artemether and lumefantrine), Combisunate, Lumartem, Artesunate (AS), and also Amatem Softgel.
The research was done by scientists from the Institut Pasteur, in partnership with the National Malaria Control Program in Rwanda (Rwanda Biomedical Center), the World Health Organization (WHO), Cochin Hospital as well as Columbia University (New York, USA).
The study additionally makes up an additional punch to worldwide initiatives targeted at dealing with malaria with constant emerging immune parasites threatening the efficiency of successive drugs used to treat the illness ever since the intro of chloroquine in the 1950s.
In the research, the researchers cautioned that such malaria parasites that cultivated resistance to earlier presented medicines were “presumed to have actually brought about millions of additional malaria loss of lives in young African young children in the 1980s.”
Speaking with TheCable on the development, Olusegun Ojetola, a medical doctor in Nigeria, stated artemisinin-based combination treatments (ACTs) are one of the most reliable anti-malaria medicines approved by the WHO.
According to him, the research study, if validated by WHO, indicates a significant obstacle to the fight against malaria in Africa as the continent is the most awful struck by the condition.
“Arteminisin is the significant content that needs to exist in all anti-malaria medicines as accepted by the WHO,” he claimed.
To arrive at their results, the researchers accumulated blood samplings of clients in chosen health centres in Rwanda and also analysed them.
The current research, released in Nature, a clinical journal, exposed that malaria parasites were able to withstand artemisinin in the therapy of the illness.
“This study provides evidence for the de novo emergence of Pfkelch13-mediated artemisinin resistance in Rwanda, potentially compromising the continued success of antimalarial chemotherapy in Africa,” the researchers said.
“Arteminisin is the major content that must be present in all anti-malaria drugs as approved by the WHO,” he said.
According to him, the research, if confirmed by WHO, signals a major setback to the fight against malaria in Africa as the continent is the worst hit by the disease.
“Let’s hope that doesn’t happen because there would be a pandemic in Africa. In Nigeria, for instance, ACT remains the only treatment for malaria so if resistance starts showing up, then Africa as a continent may be brought to an end,” the health expert said.
“Africa is the continent most affected by malaria due to many environmental factors which facilitate its spread. So, if there is no cure for malaria, that will spell doom to the entire continent. Statistics of mortality caused by malaria shows it is worse than COVID-19.”