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Scientists identify drug-resistant malaria parasites in Cambodia

New Delhi, Mon, 29 Apr 2013 NI Wire

Scientists have discovered new drug-resistant strains of the parasite responsible for causing malaria.

These malaria-causing parasites were found in western Cambodia and have found to be different from the other strains present across the world.

The researchers also found that, these parasites have the ability to withstand treatment by artemisinin - a frontline drug in the fight against malaria.

The first report of drug resistance in the area was reported in 2008 and the problem has spread to other parts of South East Area since then.

"All the most effective drugs that we have had in the last few decades have been one by one rendered useless by the remarkable ability of this parasite to mutate and develop resistance," the BBC quoted Dr Olivo Miotto, of the University of Oxford and Mahidol University in Thailand as saying.

The researchers sequenced the genomes of 800 malaria-causing parasites (Plasmodium falciparum), which were collected from the different parts of the world.

"When we compared the DNA of the parasites in Cambodia, they seem to have formed some new populations that we have not really seen elsewhere," Dr Miotto said.

The research team found three diffrenet groups of drug-resistant parasites present in the area.

The scientists said they still could not understand what genetic mutations had taken place that enabled the parasites to withstand artemisinin treatment.

But understanding their genetic fingerprint could help them to quickly spot and track these strains if they spread further, they said.

-With inputs from ANI

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