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Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2013 Apr;41(4):311-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ijantimicag.2012.12.007. Epub 2013 Feb 8.

Antimalarial drug resistance: a review of the biology and strategies to delay emergence and spread.

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Center for Advanced Modeling, Department of Emergency Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, 5801 Smith Ave., Suite 3220 Davis, Baltimore, MD 21209, USA.


The emergence of resistance to former first-line antimalarial drugs has been an unmitigated disaster. In recent years, artemisinin class drugs have become standard and they are considered an essential tool for helping to eradicate the disease. However, their ability to reduce morbidity and mortality and to slow transmission requires the maintenance of effectiveness. Recently, an artemisinin delayed-clearance phenotype was described. This is believed to be the precursor to resistance and threatens local elimination and global eradication plans. Understanding how resistance emerges and spreads is important for developing strategies to contain its spread. Resistance is the result of two processes: (i) drug selection of resistant parasites; and (ii) the spread of resistance. In this review, we examine the factors that lead to both drug selection and the spread of resistance. We then examine strategies for controlling the spread of resistance, pointing out the complexities and deficiencies in predicting how resistance will spread.

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