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Scientists have discovered genetic markers in malaria parasites linked with resistance to the anti-malarial drug piperaquine. Reported in Lancet Infectious Diseases, this research will allow health officials to monitor the spread of resistance, and help doctors and public health officers decide where the treatment is most likely to be effective.

Discovery finds possible new route to malaria vaccine corlaffra - Shutterstock

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Resistance to this key anti-malarial drug has recently emerged in Cambodia, leading to complete treatment failure there, threatening global efforts to treat and eliminate malaria.

Malaria is caused by Plasmodium parasites and in 2015, the World Health Organisation estimated that more than 200 million people were infected and nearly half a million people died worldwide from the disease. Children under the age of five made up 70 percent of these deaths. Malaria is a treatable disease when caught early enough, but is a huge problem in many areas due to drug resistance.

Read more (The Malaria Genomic Epidemiology Network (MalariaGEN) website)