Scientists Describe Genetics of Drug-Resistant Malaria Parasites
In a new study published in Nature Genetics, an international research team including NIAID scientists describes genetic changes that are frequently found in malaria-causing parasites that develop resistance to artemisinin, a key antimalarial drug. The scientists identified mutations in four additional genes that are associated with the kelch13 gene mutations known to cause artemisinin resistance.
The newly identified mutations are clustered in independent geographical areas, suggesting that the spread of artemisinin resistance in Southeast Asia is due to mutations emerging in several locations. Understanding how parasites develop artemisinin resistance and associated mutations will help scientists track these parasites and possibly predict if other countries may be at risk.