Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

You may have read reports in the news of a recent scary development in the malaria world: evidence of resistance to the best available treatment for malaria—artemisinin-based combination therapies (of ACTs)—on the Thai-Cambodia border.

The good news, however, is that the malaria community is not taking this news lying down. ACTs are the best tool out there to treat malaria—and the world is putting up its collective dukes to fight off the danger.

In one corner…the malaria parasite, an historical foe that is determined to outfox the obstacles the world puts in its way and continue to wreak havoc.

In the other corner…a vigilant and resolute malaria community, led by the World Health Organization, unwilling to give the parasite any opportunity to flex its muscles.

The Global Plan for Artemisinin Resistance Containment, published this month by the WHO and Roll Back Malaria Partnershipprovides a blueprint for how we can stay a step ahead of the parasite and save lives from this preventable and treatable disease:

  1. Stop the spread of resistance parasites.
  2. Increase monitoring and surveillance to evaluate the threat of artemisnin resistance
  3. Improve access to diagnostics and rational treatment with ACTs
  4. Invest in artemisinin resistance-related research
  5. Motivate action and mobilize resources

Great progress has been made, but now it’s time to separate the men from the plasmodium, stay ahead of resistance and squash this bug for good.