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Discovery may help combat 'superbugs' globally

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Subject

The impact of the new discovery on 'superbugs'.

Significance

The World Health Organisation (WHO) classifies increasing resistance against antimicrobial drugs as a global health threat. In the case of malaria, which endangers about 50% of the world's population, resistance to the most effective antimalarial drug artemisinin is advancing in South-east Asia. However, recent research offers hope against antimicrobial resistant infections. In January, scientists published a revolutionary approach -- iChip-- to discover and study formerly unknown microorganisms and their antimicrobial activity. The iChip potentially paves the road for a new era of antimicrobial drug discovery that is urgently needed.

Impacts

  • The use of artemisinin-based monotherapies rather than combination treatments will contribute to artemisinin resistance.
  • Artemisinin monotherapy is used in Angola, Cape Verde, Colombia, Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Sao Tome and Principe, Somalia and Swaziland.
  • These countries are therefore in danger of emerging artemisinin-resistant malaria.
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