A mutated malaria resistant to the drug has been discovered in Southeast Asia. While investing, researchers found that mosquitoes have evolved resistance over a period against artemisinin, the most efficient drug against the disease. The mutated malaria poses a serious global threat.
For the study, researchers conducted a cross-sectional survey in Myanmar, India, Thailand, and Bangladesh and took 940 blood samples. After analyzing the samples researcher found 26 different mutations. Out of 26, seven mutations were discovered for the first time in Southeast Asia. In addition, the mosquitoes have developed K13-propeller mutation resistant towards artemisinin. K13-propeller mutation is prevalent near 25 kilometers away from Indian border in Myanmar.
“To see the levels of resistant parasites that we do extending that far sort of north [in Myanmar] and close to the border was, to some degree, a surprise,” said the senior author, Charles Woodrow of the Mahidol-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit in Bangkok. “We don’t know exactly how fast things are moving,” he added. “Our study is a snapshot, really, as to the current situation. It’s reasonable to say that, yes, we should be worried about movement of people and parasites over relatively short distances and that being a process which would lead for this process to spread further.”
The study authors warned that if necessary measures are not taken now then the mutation can spread worldwide to become a global threat. Researchers used computer and geostatic models to make predictive maps that suggest in coming 15 years the mutation might spread worldwide.
This research is a cause of concern for India since the mutated gene is just 25 kilometers away from the country it can hit us anytime soon. India is already in the grip of swine flu, every year hundreds of people die of dengue and now malaria could worsen the situation. Malaria is a vector-borne disease that spreads through Anopheles mosquito. The disease spreads rapidly during the rainy season since moist and humid conditions are most suited to harvest its eggs.