Malaria Consortium Backs WHO Launch of Global Plan to Control Artemisinin Resistance12 January 2011
London, 12 January: Over 100 stakeholders from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Roll Back Malaria partnership (RBM) have developed a global response plan to the growing threat of resistance to a critical element in anti-malaria drug treatment, artemisinin.
The Global Plan for Artemisinin Resistance Containment (GPARC) is being launched today in Geneva hot on the heels of a WHO document published last November, which focused attention on current anti-malarial drug efficacy and the growth of resistance to a key element - artemisinin - over the past 10 years.
Artemisinin resistant malaria parasites have been found in Southeast Asia, primarily on the Thai-Cambodia border. Currently, in this area of the world the p. falciparum malaria parasite is taking longer to clear from the blood. Fortunately, Artemisinin based Combination Therapies ACTs are still fully effective in curing malaria infections and they remain the most effective treatment for uncomplicated malaria.
There is growing fear, however, that this resistance to artemisinins will lower the efficacy of ACTs and it is of vital importance to the continued progress being made in the fight against malaria that this resistance is contained and eliminated before it can spread to the areas of the world like sub Saharan Africa where the majority of malaria cases and deaths occur and as ACTs are the only fully effective drugs we have at the present time.
In light of this, the GPARC has been developed as a strategy to protect ACTs. WHO and RBM hope to motivate and mobilise global and local stakeholder action with the aim of containing the spread of resistance to other locations and ultimately eliminating it. The GPARC provides a clear outline of priorities; in Africa the main needs are to ensure access to the right diagnosis and treatment and to have more frequent high quality efficacy monitoring. In Asia there is need for more intense elimination efforts where resistance has already been detected and better surveillance so intervention is focused in the right areas.
“Malaria Consortium welcomes the launch of the GPARC, which was produced with extensive consultation,” said Malaria Consortium Technical Director, Dr Sylvia Meek. “It meets an urgent need to plan coherent action that uses what limited evidence is available, and identifies how to ensure better evidence for future decisions.”
Malaria Consortium is working intensively with national programmes in Southeast Asia, WHO and others to push forward implementation, monitoring and evaluation of artemisinin resistance containment.
“We are extremely worried about the threat that artemisinin resistance poses to global malaria control and we are fully committed to supporting the GPARC,” added Dr Meek.
Click here to read the Global Plan for Artemisinin Resistance Containment.
To find out more about what Malaria Consortium is doing in Southeast Asia around Artemisinin resistance containment, please visit our dedicated microsite.