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Breakthrough in Africa’s Fight Against Malaria

Researchers have reported the first clinical evidence that drug-resistant mutations of the parasite responsible for malaria are gaining ground in Africa. Experts have long worried about the emergence of drug resistance across the continent, which accounted for more than 90 percent of malaria deaths worldwide in 2019. A new study published in The Lancet on Thursday appears to confirm those fears. In clinical trials, the disease lingered longer in children receiving standard treatment for malaria if they were infected with mutant strains of the disease, the study found. The efficacy of artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) remained high, but the researchers said there was an “urgent need” for more monitoring in Rwanda, where the study was conducted, as well as in neighbouring countries. “Our study shows that resistant isolates are starting to become more common,” said lead author Aline Uwimana, a researcher at the Rwanda Biomedical Centre in Kigali.