Warning that “drug-resistant malaria threatens millions,” NBC News warns of a possible deadly global nightmare in which the antimalarial drug artemisinin is showing signs of severely reduced effectiveness against malaria in low-income populations in Thailand.
In a well-written and compelling piece, NBC News’ Ian Williams profiles the work of several dedicated doctors who treat malaria in Thailand. One of those profiles, Dr, Francois Nostin, referred to the growing resistance to the artemisinin and stated:
“We have to beat this resistance, win this race and eliminate the parasite before it’s too late. That’s our challenge now.”
Nosten warned of the potential consequences of failing to eradicate the artemisinin resistant strain of malaria and told NBC News “It means that all the progress of the last 10 to 15 years will be lost. Now the resistance is here, we worry that we are running out of time.”
The World Health Organization reports that malaria kills an estimated 655,000 people per year, mostly in Africa. The organization states that 3.3 billion people are at risk for contracting the disease. It states that the vast majority of the deaths occurred in children under the age of five.
Though NBC News states “Some scientists claim this is too alarmist, since the parasite does eventually die, with longer treatment and higher drug doses,” they also quote Nosten as saying he sees no room for complacency and “In 2009, we still had 90 percent of patients cured. In 2010, it dropped to 60 to 70 percent. Now it’s about 50 percent.”