Updated: 01012021 23:13 IS

Washington [USA], 1 January (ANI): In the ongoing arms race between humans and the parasite that causes malaria, researchers report that new mutations already exist that are increasing resistance to a drug used to prevent malaria in pregnant women and children, often in countries that are against Fighting the Disease The new results were published in PLOS Genetics and found by Taane Clark and colleagues at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM)Malaria causes around 435 each year000 deaths, mostly of young children in sub-Saharan Africa Despite a long-term global response, efforts to control the disease are hampered by the rise of drug-resistant strains of the parasite species that cause malaria, for example, sulfadoxine pyrimethamine (SP) used to be a first line treatment for malaria However, today it is mainly used to prevent infections in pregnant women and children Mutations in two genes of the parasite Plasmodium falciparum provide resistance to SP, but recently mutations related to resistance in a third gene, pfgch1, have been discovered

To understand the extent and distribution of these new mutations, Clark and colleagues analyzed genomic sequences from 4134 blood samples from 29 countries where malaria is endemic, they discovered at least ten different versions of pfgch1 found in about a quarter of samples from Southeast Asia and a third of samples from Africa, where strains carrying the mutations are on the rise The growth in the number of malaria parasites with pfgch1 mutations is of concern as the mutations may increase resistance to SP and encourage the development of new resistant strains, as a result of which their growth may jeopardize efforts to use SP to prevent malaria in vulnerable groups by identifying these pfgch1 mutations from the new study, however, will allow scientists to monitor their presence in parasite populations to understand where SP can be used effectively and where resistance rates are already too high. “SP is an established drug for the prevention and treatment of malaria in vulnerable groups such as pregnant women Women and Children We may have underestimated susceptibility to parasite resistance, as these new data show, “said Colin Sutherland, author and co-director of the LSHTM Malaria Center (ANI)


World News – FI – New mutations in the malaria parasite are promoting resistance to important preventive drugs