Antimalarial Resistance

A subject of particularly intense study concerns the ongoing problem of anti-malarial resistance which, for many reasons, has repeatedly originated in Southeast Asia. The region was the origin of anti-malarial resistance to chloroquine and the same process is now reoccurring with resistance to the latest drug, artemisinin, having been recently detected in Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam. As artemisinin is the current cornerstone of malaria drug treatment, rising rates of resistance threaten to rollback worldwide gains against this disease. There is thus a great need to better our understanding of the mechanisms behind anti-malarial resistance. Assistance Professor Dr. Thanat Chookajorn, the Genomics and Evolutionary Medicine Unit (GEM) had discovered an assay that measures an enzyme used by parasite to evade anti-malarial drugs. His study is now opening the way for development of a new category of inhibitors and offering a new strategy for fighting malaria drug resistance.