Malaria-carrying parasites in parts of Cambodia have developed resistance to a major drug used to treat the disease in Southeast Asia, according to research published on Thursday in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal.
The drug piperaquine, used in combination with the drug artemisinin, has been the main form of malaria treatment in Cambodia since 2008.
The combination is also one of the few treatments still effective against multi drug-resistant malaria which has emerged in Southeast Asia in recent years, and which experts fear may spread to other parts of the world.
“(Treatment) failures are caused by both artemisinin and piperaquine resistance, and commonly occur in places where dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine has been used in the private sector,” researchers said.
Artemisinin resistance has been found in five countries in Southeast Asia – Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. Read more