New discovery could help wipe out malaria

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Friday, May 10, 2013 - 9:59am

Researchers believe they have found a way to track the spread of drug-resistant malaria -- and the discovery may help to finally eradicate the disease.

Resistance to the group of drugs doctors currently use to treat malaria has been noticed in Cambodia in recent years, and that's sparked concern an untreatable type of malaria could spread worldwide, but an international team of researchers says it has identified unique genetic fingerprints for drug-resistant strains of the parasite.

They say this may help detect and contain this hard-to-treat form of malaria before it spreads worldwide.

Worldwide elimination of malaria would save hundreds of thousands of lives each year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), but eradication remains a challenge, because the mosquito-carried parasite that causes the disease can evolve to withstand the effects of new malaria drugs and become drug-resistant.

The study was recently published in the Journal Nature "Genetics".

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