WHO commences war against drug-resistant malaria

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Yesterday the World Health Organization (WHO) announced a $175 million plan to try and cut off the spread of a drug-resistant form of falciparum malaria which has emerged in South East Asia.

Falciparum malaria is the most deadly form of the disease. Traditionally, doctors have fought malaria infections with a combination of drugs which includes artemisinin, known as ACT. If this new form of malaria should spread to India, Africa and South America, the death toll from the disease would rise dramatically. Currently, malaria kills over 800,000 people — predominantly African children — and infects over 240 million worldwide each year.

The campaign to stop the spread of artemisinin-resistant strains of falciparum malaria is being supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, among others. But ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross says, “More money and resources are needed. This is a very, very serious public health threat.”