Sunday December 15, 2019

Strains of Malaria Resistant to Two Key Anti-Malarial Medicines Becoming More Dominant in Southeast Asia

Strains of malaria resistant to two key anti-malarial medicines are becoming more dominant in Vietnam

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Malaria, Medicine, Asia
FILE - Children living in the Thai-Myanmar border come to a malaria clinic to get tested in Sai Yoke district, Kanchanaburi province, Thailand, Oct. 26, 2012. VOA

Strains of malaria resistant to two key anti-malarial medicines are becoming more dominant in Vietnam, Laos and northern Thailand after spreading rapidly from Cambodia, scientists warned Monday.

Using genomic surveillance to track the spread of drug-resistant, the scientists found that the strain, known as KEL1/PLA1, has also evolved and picked up new genetic mutations which may make it yet more resistant to drugs.

“We discovered [it] had spread aggressively, replacing local parasites, and had become the dominant strain in Vietnam, Laos and northeastern Thailand,” said Roberto Amato, who worked with a team from Britain’s Wellcome Sanger Institute and Oxford University and Thailand’s Mahidol University.

It is caused by Plasmodium parasites which are carried by mosquitoes and spread through their blood-sucking bites.

Malaria, Medicine, Asia
FILE – Village malaria worker Phoun Sokha, 47, shows his malaria medicine kit at O’treng village on the outskirts of Pailin, Cambodia, Aug. 29, 2009. VOA

Almost 220 million people were infected with malaria in 2017, according to World Health Organization estimates, and the disease killed 400,000 of them. The vast majority of cases and deaths are among babies and children in sub-Saharan Africa.

Malaria can be successfully treated with medicines if it’s caught early enough, but resistance to anti-malarial drugs is growing in many parts of the world, especially in Southeast Asia.

The first-line treatment for malaria in many parts of Asia in the last decade has been a combination of dihydroartemisinin and piperaquine, also known as DHA-PPQ. Researchers found in previous work that a strain of malaria had evolved and spread across Cambodia between 2007 and 2013. This latest research, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal, found it has crossed borders and tightened its grip.

“The speed at which these resistant malaria parasites have spread in Southeast Asia is very worrying,” said Olivo Miotto, who co-led the work.

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“Other drugs may be effective at the moment, but the situation is extremely fragile and this study highlights that urgent action is needed,” he said. (VOA)

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Resistance to Antibiotics Rise Among Indian Patients in Pace

There is increase in resistance to antibiotics including clarithromycin which is undoubtedly a worrisome situation in the country

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Antibiotics
In India, a huge population prefers to consume over-the-counter (OTC) drugs without even consulting a doctor. In the long run, this may make them resistant to most of the Antibiotics including clarithromycin. Pixabay

Resistance to commonly-used Antibiotics like clarithromycin is rising among Indian patients and that too at quite a fast pace, health experts have warned.

Clarithromycin is used to treat a wide variety of bacterial infections. This medication can also be used in combination with anti-ulcer medications to treat certain types of stomach ulcers.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health, food security and development today.

Sunil Sofat, Additional Director, Department of Interventional Cardiology (Adult) at Jaypee Hospital in Noida, said that every antibiotic medicine has its own mechanism to treat diseases.

“Yes, this is true that the resistance to clarithromycin is rising among the Indian patients and that too at quite a fast pace. There are multiple factors for the same but one of the major reasons behind it is self-medication,” Sofat told IANS.

“In India, a huge population prefers to consume over-the-counter (OTC) drugs without even consulting a doctor. In the long run, this may make them resistant to most of the antibiotics including clarithromycin,” Sofat added.

Antibiotics
Resistance to commonly-used Antibiotics like clarithromycin is rising among Indian patients and that too at quite a fast pace, health experts have warned. Pixabay

In a recent study presented at United European Gastroenterology (UEG) Week Barcelona 2019, researchers have found that resistance to clarithromycin, one of the most established antimicrobials used to eradicate Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), had increased from 9.9 per cent in 1998 to 21.6 per cent last year, with increases in resistance also seen for levofloxacin and metronidazole.

The study, which analysed 1,232 patients from 18 countries across Europe, investigated resistance to antibiotics regularly taken for Helicobacter pylori infection, a harmful bacterium associated with gastric ulcers, lymphoma and gastric cancer.

According to Gaurav Jain, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine at Dharamshila Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, New Delhi, antibiotic resistance is a major concern.

“In India the consumption of antibiotics without consulting a qualified physician is quite common which is leading to its resistance,” Jain told IANS.

“There is increase in resistance to antibiotics including clarithromycin which is undoubtedly a worrisome situation in the country,” Jain said.

However, Deepak Verma of Internal Medicine at Columbia Asia Hospital, Ghaziabad said: “Most of the cases that we see in India are connected to gram-negative bacteria such as e.coli that causes urinary tract infection (UTI).”

He added that the main causes for antibiotic resistance in India are its rampant misuse where people indulge in self-doctoring as well as taking medicines prescribed by unregistered medical practitioners, including quacks who suggest antibiotics quite indiscriminately.

Antibiotics
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), resistance to Antibiotics is one of the biggest threats to global health, food security and development today. Wikimedia Commons

“They primarily use antibiotics symptomatically which is not a correct method for all ailments — without blood and urine culture. Antibiotics can force the pathogen to develop resistance,” Verma explained.

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“Since the clinical culture in India is different from that of the western countries, the lack of awareness of the right process to prescribe antibiotics increases the chances of people using antibiotics without questioning,” he stressed. (IANS)