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Drug resistance genomics of the antimalarial drug artemisinin.

  • Author(s): Winzeler, Elizabeth A
  • Manary, Micah J
  • et al.
Abstract

Across the globe, over 200 million annual malaria infections result in up to 660,000 deaths, 77% of which occur in children under the age of five years. Although prevention is important, malaria deaths are typically prevented by using antimalarial drugs that eliminate symptoms and clear parasites from the blood. Artemisinins are one of the few remaining compound classes that can be used to cure multidrug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum infections. Unfortunately, clinical trials from Southeast Asia are showing that artemisinin-based treatments are beginning to lose their effectiveness, adding renewed urgency to the search for the genetic determinants of parasite resistance to this important drug class. We review the genetic and genomic approaches that have led to an improved understanding of artemisinin resistance, including the identification of resistance-conferring mutations in the P. falciparum kelch13 gene.

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