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Oxford University scientists have found that the more effective way to beat malaria is to use less effective drugs some of the time.

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The current drug of choice for malaria - artemisinin - is extremely effective at saving lives from the disease, but artemisinin-resistant malaria parasites are spreading as the drug is used more and more. A computer simulation study now suggests that treating malaria in a population by simultaneously using a non-artemisinin therapy amongst more effective artemisinin-based combinations is the best way to combat the disease, while still reducing the spread of drug-resistant malaria. Writing in the Lancet Global Health, scientists at the Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine at Oxford University found that this combination worked best even when the non-artemisinin drug was only effective 85% of the time in treating malaria.

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