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Scientists have discovered that the malaria parasite Plasmodium vivax is evolving rapidly to adapt to conditions in different geographical locations, in particular to defend itself against widely-used antimalarial drugs.

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Image courtesy of Shutterstock

The study, published in Nature Genetics, provides a foundation for using genomic surveillance to guide effective strategies for malaria control and elimination. P. vivax is mainly found in Asia and South America, and 2.5 billion people are at risk of infection worldwide.  This species of malaria parasite is notoriously difficult to work with and the new study has created one of the largest genomic data sets of this species to date, which is available to all researchers.

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