New malaria solutions needed in Southeast Asia
Malaria remains a pressing issue in Southeast Asia, with 14.6 million or 7% of global cases occurring in the region in 2016 and a rise in cases that the newest and best drugs are unable treat. Poverty, poor sanitation, a lack of disease surveillance, migration and low quality or counterfeit drugs are among the contributing factors to the continued spread of malaria, according to a recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Recommended treatment includes taking a series of fast acting artemisinin-based combination compounds in combination with drugs that simultaneously attack the parasite. But strains of malaria resistant to multiple drugs have been found in the region, as well as mosquitos that show sign of resistance to insecticides. Experts have been alarmed by the rise in resistance and have called for the development of genetic sequencing efforts that could allow regional programs to respond immediately to the parasite's evolutionary changes.