Pharmaceutical companies have been called upon to stop marketing a single treatment malarial drug, by the World Health Organization (WHO), as the parasite which causes malaria may develop a resistance to it.
Arata Kochi, director of the WHO's malaria department, said that the practice of using artemisinin, one of the most effective anti-malarials, on its own would result in the parasite becoming resistant to the drug, and will have disastrous consequences for malaria treatment.
Kochi added that the WHO feared that using artemisinin as a single drug would lead to it going the same way as other anti-malarial drugs such as chloroquine, sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine and atovaquone which lost their effectiveness because the malarial parasite was able to develop resistance to these drugs.
'If we lose artemisinin, we will no longer have an effective cure for malaria. We cannot afford to repeat mistakes from the past,' Nature quoted Kochi, saying. Artemisinin combination therapies are currently the single most effective treatment to cure malaria, with a 95% cure rate.