At the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) symposium yesterday entitled ‘Artemisinin resistance – threats & responses,’ Dr Sylvia Meek, Malaria Consortium Technical Director, stressed the importance of a strong and timely response in containing resistance in Southeast Asia.
The event was co-hosted by the LSHTM Malaria Centre, ACT Consortium, Worldwide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN) and Malaria Consortium and was held to bring together leading experts to discuss potential responses to counteract the threat of resistance.
Dr Meek joined five other panellists from a number of organisations, including the Mahidol -Oxford Research Unit, Bangkok, WWARN and the LSHTM in emphasising the threat that drug resistance poses to malaria control efforts, and advocated for sustained funding in conjunction with improved surveillance information in countries where resistance is present. “It is probably not too late to eliminate artemisinin resistance,” she noted. “There is little to lose by trying, since our efforts would accelerate malaria elimination. However, efforts need to be geared up, and we need to apply multiple tools and strategies – recognising that none of them are perfect, and the risks of failure justify some duplication.”
The presentation also addressed a number of the ongoing efforts to contain the spread of drug resistance in the Greater Mekong Subregion and highlighted what needs to be done in the future. While the burden of malaria remains the highest in Africa, Dr Meek explained that the spread of artemisinin resistance poses a threat for all malaria endemic countries. The prospect of resistance spreading to Africa is particularly worrying, as it could set back the progress made in reducing malaria over the past decade.
ACT efficacy world-wide - Dr Colin Sutherland (LSHTM)
Epidemiology of resistance in Asia & Africa - Dr Christian Nsanzabana (WWARN)
Transmission-blocking strategies for malaria - can we stop the spread of artemisinin resistance?
Prof Chris Drakeley (LSHTM)
Tracking the spread of artemisinin-resistant malaria - Prof Nick White (Mahidol-Oxford Research Unit, Bangkok)
Invest in the Future: Defeat Malaria - Dr Sylvia Meek (Malaria Consortium)
Panel Discussion - Prof. David Schellenberg - Chair (LSHTM)
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