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Discovery could lead to development of more effective malaria healthcare plans

Published on 13/10/2010
A new study that has identified the gene that enables the parasite that causes malaria to resist treatment could lead to more effective healthcare plans for the disease being developed.

Scientists at the University of Edinburgh used new technology to scan the genetic fingerprint of drug-resistant parasites that infect rodents.

It enabled them to pinpoint the gene that is responsible for the disease becoming resistant to the plant-based remedy artemisinin.

Artemisinin remains the only effective treatment in many countries where the parasite has developed resistance to previously effective common treatments such as chloroquine.

The researchers hope that the discovery paves the way for future studies that could help develop more effective drugs for human malaria.

Dr Paul Hunt from the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Edinburgh, said: "This knowledge from rodent malaria parasites opens up new directions that will allow this gene to be investigated in human malaria. 

"This may help track the evolution of drug resistance and may eventually enable the design of alternative, effective drugs."

There are estimated to be between 300 and 500 million cases of malaria each year across the world.
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2010

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