Diseases

Supermalaria is advancing

A mutant malaria parasite takes over Southeast Asia. Scientists sound the alarm, because if the variant comes to Africa, the consequences can be disastrous.

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A new form of malaria is spreading in Southeast Asia. No medicine helps against the new superparasite, which is a mutated variant of the most serious malaria parasite for humans.

The new variant of the parasite _Plasmodium falciparum_ was first discovered in Cambodia, but has now spread to Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.

Scientists conclude this in a letter in the journal The Lancet30524-8 / fulltext {"target": "_ blank"}), where they call the development ominous and determine that the new malaria type is an international problem.

Among other things, they fear that the disease transmitted by mosquitoes will be incurable and spread to Africa.

Red blood cells explode

Malaria is due to a parasite that is introduced into human blood by mosquitoes. The parasite has a highly developed life cycle. For example, it multiplies in the liver and causes red blood cells to explode at a later stage.

The parasite gradually changes its appearance, making it a huge challenge for science to get hold of it and kill it.

Doctors currently treat malaria with so-called artemisinins, sometimes in combination with the substance piperaquine.

The new mutant is resistant to both agents.

212 million people get malaria

Around 212 million people are infected with malaria every year. 92 percent of cases occur in Africa, where the spread of a resistant malaria parasite would be disastrous.

That is why it is a race against the clock for scientists.

Video: Could this be a game changer in the fight against Malaria? - BBC News (February 2020).

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