A newly released study has revealed that drug-resistant malaria is turning up in the U.K., indicating that malaria parasites have increasingly been adapting to existing drugs.
The recommended treatment for malaria is an artemisinin-based drug combination known as Artemether-lumefantrine. Taking a few pills over the course of 3-4 days kills the malaria parasites, but the new study warned that the parasites are becoming resistant to these drugs.
The study dates back to late 2015, when British health officials came across a few malaria cases that refused to succumb to widely-used Artemether-lumefantrine drugs. The patients had visited three different African nations, viz. Angola, Liberia and Uganda.
After being treated with the Artemether-lumefantrine drug, the patients appeared to be cured but the parasitic infections raced back soon. Dr. Colin Sutherland, of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, called the cases "surprising."
Speaking on the topic, Dr. Sutherland said, "It was very surprising. We might not get too concerned about the occasional treatment failure. But when four cases come along at once, it does make us think we've got something important that we need to investigate."
The alarming findings of the study were reported in the most recent issue of the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.