Drug resistant malaria takes new ground, raising fears of global spreadPosted: March 23, 2012
Initially, piperaquine restored the therapeutic punch of ACTs. But artemisinin continued to buckle. ACT treatment failures in some areas rose from just 8 percent in 2008 to 28 percent in 2010. As artemisinin left behind an increasing fraction of multi-billion parasite infections (that’s how many parasites an infected, symptomatic person typically carries), pressure grew on the less capable partner drug. Within the noise of the clinical data on the new ACT came disturbing sounds of piperaquine cracking, but it was hard to be sure. WHO worried last November: “resistance against piperaquine has far reaching consequences and needs urgent confirmation.” Today, WHO believes that increasing treatment failures are “most probably due to piperaquine resistance,” according to Pascal Ringwald, coordinator of WHO’s Drug Resistance and Containment program.