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Malaria Drug

December 4, 2006

An all-but-abandoned malaria drug could someday regain its effectiveness.


Reviving a drug. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

The first major drug for treating malaria could someday come back into fashion. This according to researcher Miriam Laufer of the University of Maryland. She says thirty years ago, malaria in Africa evolved resistence to the popular drug chloroquine. So in 1993, the government of Malawi banned it.

MIRIAM LAUFER (University of Maryland School of Medicine):
And when the drug pressure was removed, the drug-susceptible malaria parasites were able to grow faster than the drug-resistant parasites and so now all that we have in Malawi are drug-susceptible parasites.

Her recent study found that chloroquine successfully cured children in a Malawi village. But, she says, much of sub-Saharan Africa still has chloroquine-resistant malaria, so the region must ban the drug completely before it can be brought back into widespread use.

I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.