Home > Online Clinic News > Chloroquine Being Studied for Malaria Resistance

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by Robert MacKay, Tuesday, October 16, 2012 | Categories: Travel Clinic

A new study has suggested that Chloroquine could be used again as a treatment for malaria in some countries. The use of Chloroquine, which was a common drug to use for malaria treatment and prevention since the 1950s, was discontinued in 2003 after an increased incidence of childhood deaths from malaria was reported. Instead, the World Health Organisation recommended the use of other treatments such as artemisinin.

The reasoning behind the decision to stop using Chloroquine came from the fact that it appeared that the extensive use of Chloroquine led to malaria parasites developing resistance to it. The malaria parasite had mutated to form this resistance. What made the mutation particularly persistent was that there were 16 polymorphisms that were associated with it. However, researchers were hoping that if individuals stopped using the medication for a period of time, the resistance developed in the parasites would decline.

This is the subject of a recent study published in American Journal of Tropical Medicine. The study, which lasted for 2 years, looked at 11 500 blood samples from children under the age of ten in two areas of Senegal. The findings indicate that there is a significant decline in the developed resistance and the researchers claim that the possibility of using Chloroquine in combination with other anti-malarial medication for treatment or prevention should be considered in the near future.

Given that there is still 30% resistance, we have to respectfully disagree with the researchers. We would need to see a much more significant decline in resistance before the use of Chloroquine could be considered again as a treatment or prevention in areas where there is still a high level of resistance.

Please note that this article does not have a bearing on the recommended preventative treatments for travellers

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