From: The Kaiser Foundation
“Growing resistance to a key anti-malarial drug derived from a shrub used in traditional Chinese medicine is threatening to roll back gains made in combating the disease,” according to experts attending a U.N.-sponsored malaria conference that concluded on Friday in Sydney, Australia.
Malaria “therapies based on artemisinin — an extract from the sweet wormwood bush used for centuries in Chinese medicine as a fever cure — were” formulated in combination with other antimalarials to form artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) that the WHO thought would be effective for years, but resistance to the ACTs has begun to appear in some areas, the news service notes. “Specifically, [the Roll Back Malaria Partnership] noted, artemisinin resistance has been detected in Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam,”
Some 34 million cases of malaria claimed the lives of 46,000 people in the regions beyond Africa in 2010, according to the report.
The Asia-Pacific region, which includes 20 malaria-endemic countries, accounted for about 88 per cent (30 million) of these cases, and 91 per cent (42,000) of the deaths, the report adds, saying India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Myanmar and Papua New Guinea bear the largest burden of the disease.