This is Science Today. Every year, malaria affects up to 500 million people worldwide. The mosquito-borne disease kills more than 1 million a year — mostly young children in sub-Saharan Africa. Currently, artemisinin is the first-line drug treatment, but there's growing concern about drug resistance. At the University of California, San Francisco, researchers — including graduate student Katherine Sorber — are working to combat this.
Cures are taking longer in the field than they had when the drug was first put out there. So, my project focuses on trying to figure out how this resistance arises and what are the differences in parasites that are resistant to artemisinin versus those that are not.
The main concern is that researchers may run out of options for drug treatment.
We hope by figuring out the mode of resistance that we'll be able to gain some insight not only into how the parasite works, but how we might be able to get around resistance by maybe tweaking the chemical structure of the drug.
For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.