Drug-resistant malaria strains pose challenge to disease prevention

The region around the Mekong River delta is infamous for its malaria parasites. Twice already—in the 1950s and the 1960s—they have developed resistance to key drugs, and the under lying mutations spread inexorably around the world, forcing public health officials to find new ways to fight the disease. Now it is happening again. Over the last decade, artemisinin, the most powerful drug available to cure malaria, has failed in more and more people in Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos, and border regions of Thailand. Researchers and public health experts worry that history will repeat itself and resistant parasites will go global. With any new drugs still years away from clinical use, that would be a disaster.

Money has poured into efforts to contain and eliminate the region’s resistant strains, so far without success. This week, two papers online in Science offer new insights into the genes behind the threat. One helps explain which genetic changes allow the parasites to survive the drug (http://scim.ag/JStraimer). The other details how the mutations protect the parasites: by slowing their development and ramping up their defenses against the kinds of protein damage that artemisinin seems to cause (http://scim.ag/SMok). Such insights should help scientists identify and track resistant parasites and perhaps find better ways to kill them. The studies are “extremely interesting and important,” says Pascal Ringwald, who coordinates the malaria drug resistance and containment program for the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.

Read full, original article: The genetics of resistant malaria

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

As Europe sees record coronavirus cases and deaths, Slovakia is testing its entire adult population. WSJ's Drew Hinshaw explains how ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend