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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 21  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 4-8

Artemisinin resistance: Cause for worry?

1 Commanding Officer, 421 Field Hospital, C/O 99 APO, Pune, Maharashtra, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Armed Forces Medical College, Pune, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Lt Col Reema Mukherjee
Armed Forces Medical College, Pune - 411 040, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jmms.jmms_43_18

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Background: Artemisinin resistance is being reported from certain regions of the world. Globally, the scientific community is engaged in tracing the epidemiology of this resistance while also working on possible interventions to curb the spread. Aim: We reviewed the epidemiology of antimalarial drug resistance, especially artemisinin resistance both globally and in India, and report the possible ways forward. Literature Search: Resistance to all antimalarial drugs developed initially in South East Asia and thereafter spread globally. Artemisinin-based combination treatment (ACT) was formally recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2005 to achieve an enhanced barrier to drug resistance. However in 2008, resistance to artemisinin was first reported from Western Cambodia/Thailand. Subsequently, P falciparum chromosome 13 ('kelch' motif or K13) (Pfk 13) was implicated with slow in vivo parasite clearance. As of 2019, artemisinin resistance has been confirmed in six countries of the Greater Mekong Sub-region. The North east states of India have been the portal for entry of anti-malarial drug resistance over the past decades. Though in vitro testing have not shown evidence of decreased artemisinin sensitivity, however, Pfk13 mutations have been reported from India, thus sounding a note of caution and indicating the need for continued genetic, clinical and public health surveillance. Conclusion: Though clinical cure in falciparum malaria infection continues to be elicited through use of ACT even in the countries reporting artemisinin resistance, however a comprehensive framework for combating the resistance has already been put into action by the WHO.

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