Acquired resistance of malarial parasites against artemisinin-based drugs: social and economic impacts
Johanna M Porter-Kelley1, Joann Cofie2, Sophonie Jean2, Mark E Brooks1, Mia Lassiter1, DC Ghislaine Mayer2
1Life Sciences Department, Winston-Salem State University, Winston Salem, NC, USA; 2Department of Biology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA
Abstract: Malaria, a disease of poverty and high morbidity and mortality in the tropical world, has led to a worldwide search for control measures. To that end, good antimalarial chemotherapies have been difficult to find in the global market and those that seem to be most effective are rapidly becoming ineffective due to the emergence and spread of drug resistance. Artemisinin, a very effective yet expensive antimalarial, has quickly become the recommended drug of choice when all other possibilities fail. However, for all its promise as the next great antimalarial, the outlook is bleak. Resistance is developing to artemisinin while another effective antimalarial is not in sight. Malaria endemic areas which are mostly in developing countries must deal with the multifaceted process of changing and implementing new national malaria treatment guidelines. This requires complex interactions between several sectors of the affected society which in some cases take place within the context of political instability. Moreover, the cost associated with preventing and containing the spread of antimalarial resistance is detrimental to economic progress. This review addresses the impact of artemisinin resistance on the socioeconomic structure of malaria endemic countries.
Keywords: artemisinin-based drugs, social, economic, malarial parasite resistance
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