Drug resistant malaria parasite found

Scientists find drug-resistant parasites in Cambodia after sequencing genomes of 800 parasites from around world.

A worker prepares a blood sample for testing at a malaria clinic 10 kilometres from the Thai-Myanmar border, in Kanchanaburi province. Scientists have identified new drug-resistant strains of the parasite that causes malaria in Cambodia. (EPA photo).

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MEDICINE

Drug-resistant malaria discovered

29 Apr 2013
Online Reporters

New drug-resistant strains of the parasite that causes malaria have been identified in Cambodia.

Last year, scientists warned that drug-resistant strains of malaria were spreading in Cambodia and also appearing along the border between Thailand and Myanmar, raising concerns of an epidemic.

Now scientists have pinpointed the malaria-causing parasites that are able to withstand treatment by the anti-malarial drug artemisinin, according to a study published in the journal Nature Genetics.

The lead author of the study, Dr Olivo Miotto, from Oxford University and Mahidol University, told the BBC that artemisinin is currently the best defence against the mosquito-borne disease. The drug is used widely and can treat an infection in days when combined with other drugs.

"All the most effective drugs that we have had in the last few decades have been one by one rendered useless by the remarkable ability of this parasite to mutate and develop resistance,” he said.

Artemisinin right now works very well. It is the best weapon we have against the disease, and we need to keep it.

Dr Miotto’s team sequenced the genomes of 800 malaria-causing parasites from around the world. The scientists found three distinct groups of drug-resistant parasites in Cambodia, but said they did not yet know exactly how the parasites had mutated to withstand artemisinin.

"When we compared the DNA of the parasites in Cambodia, they seem to have formed some new populations that we have not really seen elsewhere,” Dr Miotto said.

Dr Miotto said that understanding the genetic fingerprint of the parasites would help scientists spot and track these strains if they spread further.

Thailand, Myanmar and the US Agency for International Development last week signed a mutual declaration launching a malaria control and prevention project for the Myanmar-Thailand border.

According to a press statement, the scheme “will contribute not only to better health care among communities along the Myanmar-Thailand border but also to the public health environment of the GMS [Greater Mekong Subregion] at large."

(Source: Bangkok Post, MEDICINE, Drug-resistant malaria discovered, 29 Apr 2013, Online Reporters, link


Fight Against Malaria Vocabulary

malaria - "a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans and other animals caused by protists (a type of microorganism) of the genus Plasmodium. It begins with a bite from an infected female Anopheles mosquito, which introduces the protists through saliva into the circulatory system. In the blood, the protists travel to the liver to mature and reproduce. Malaria causes symptoms that typically include fever and headache, which in severe cases can progress to coma or death. The disease is widespread in tropical and subtropical regions in a broad band around the equator, including much of Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and the Americas" (See Wikipedia)

artemisinin - "a group of drugs that possess the most rapid action of all current drugs against Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Treatments containing an artemisinin derivative (artemisinin-combination therapys, ACTs) are now standard treatment worldwide for P. falciparum malaria. The starting compound artemisinin is isolated from the plant Artemisia annua, sweet wormwood, a herb employed in Chinese traditional medicine" (See Wikipedia)
the anti-malarial drug artemisinin

resistant - not harmed or affected by something มั่นคง, แน่นหนา, ทนทาน
drug-resistant - not harmed by drugs ดื้อยา

drug-resistant malaria - malaria that is not harmed by drugs
drug-resistant malaria discovered

parasite -  an animal that lives in another animal's body (getting the things it needs for life there) พยาธิ, พืชหรือสัตว์ที่อาศัยสิ่งมีชีวิตอื่น
the parasite that causes malaria
malaria-causing parasites

strain - one kind or variety of plant, animal or bacteria พันธุ์, ชนิด, จำพวก, ประเภทชนิดหรือวงศ์ของพืช
drug-resistant strains
new drug-resistant strains of the parasite that causes malaria

identified - named ระบุชื่อ
New drug-resistant strains of the parasite that causes malaria have been identified in Cambodia.

sample - ตัวอย่าง
blood sample
blood sample for testing

clinic - a place with doctors and nurses that provides medical treatment คลินิก, สถานรักษาพยาบาล
a malaria clinic

border - the official line separating two areas, regions or countries เขตแดน อาณาเขต
the Thai-Myanmar border

A worker prepares a blood sample for testing at a malaria clinic in Tai Muang, 10 kilometres from the Thai-Myanmar border, in Kanchanaburi province. Scientists have identified new drug-resistant strains of the parasite that causes malaria in Cambodia. (EPA photo). 

epidemic - a large number of cases of a particular disease happening at the same time in a particular community โรคระบาด

concerns - worries ความกังวล
raise a concern - to say that you are worried about something 
raising concerns of an epidemic

Last year, scientists warned that drug-resistant strains of malaria were spreading in Cambodia and also appearing along the border between Thailand and Myanmar, raising concerns of an epidemic.

pinpoint - to find exactly what or where something is
scientists have pinpointed the malaria-causing parasites

treat (verb) รักษา
treatment (noun) - the process of providing medical care การรักษา

withstand - to be strong enough not to be hurt or damaged by extreme force, extreme conditions, etc. ทนทาน
withstand treatment - when medicine cannot put an end to disease

withstand
treatment by the anti-malarial drug artemisinin

Now scientists have pinpointed the malaria-causing parasites that are able to withstand treatment by the anti-malarial drug artemisinin, according to a study published in the journal Nature Genetics.

borne - carried ถือ หรือนำไป (อัญเชิญ ประดิษฐาน)
mosquito-borne - carried by mosquitos
the mosquito-borne disease - a disease carried from person to person by mosquitoes

defence - to act to stop something or someone from hurting you ปกป้อง
a defence against
the best defence against
artemisinin is currently the best defence against the mosquito-borne disease

combined with -
to join with, be mixed with other things นำมารวมกัน,  ทำให้รวมกัน, นำมารวมเข้าด้วยกัน, ประสานกัน
combined with other drugs


infection - when some disease-causing thing like a bacteria or virus enters the body การติดเชื้อ, การติดโรค
treat an infection - to take action to stop a disease

can treat an infection in days when combined with other drugs.

The lead author of the study, Dr Olivo Miotto, from Oxford University and Mahidol University, told the BBC that artemisinin is currently the best defence against the mosquito-borne disease. The drug is used widely and can treat an infection in days when combined with other drugs.

effective - works well, gets the job done; producing the result that was intended ได้ผลดี
the most effective drugs

decades - periods of ten years เป็นสิบๆปี
in the last few decades

remarkable - unusual or special and therefore surprising and worth mentioning ไม่ธรรมดา
remarkable ability 
remarkable ability of this parasite

mutate - to become physically different from other viruses, plants or animals as a result of a genetic change กลายพันธุ์, เปลี่ยนแปลง, เปลี่ยนรูป

resistance - a refusal to accept something or allow it to happen การต่อต้าน, การขัดขืน
remarkable ability to mutate and develop resistance

rendered - made to be ถูกทำให้
rendered useless - made to be useless

drugs rendered useless by the remarkable ability of this parasite to mutate and develop resistance

"All the most effective drugs that we have had in the last few decades have been one by one rendered useless by the remarkable ability of this parasite to mutate and develop resistance,” he said

Artemisinin right now works very well. It is the best weapon we have against the disease, and we need to keep it.

genome
- all of a living thing's genetic information or DNA, that it passes on to its offspring (See Wikipedia)
sequence genome
- a laboratory process that determines the complete DNA sequence of a living thing's genome (See Wikipedia)
sequenced the genomes of  malaria-causing parasites

distinct
- clearly different แตกต่างอย่างสิ้นเชิง clearly noticeable แตกต่างชัดเจน
three distinct groups of drug-resistant parasites

mutated to withstand artemisinin
how the parasites had mutated to withstand artemisinin
.
Dr Miotto’s team sequenced the genomes of 800 malaria-causing parasites from around the world. The scientists found three distinct groups of drug-resistant parasites in Cambodia, but said they did not yet know exactly how the parasites had mutated to withstand artemisinin.

DNA
 
the DNA of the parasites

"When we compared the DNA of the parasites in Cambodia, they seem to have formed some new populations that we have not really seen elsewhere,” Dr Miotto said.

genetic - dealing with the genes and common characteristics that are passed from parent to child ทางพันธุกรรม
fingerprint - 1. something that identifies something uniquely; 2. a mark that you leave on something when you touch it, showing the pattern of lines on the skin of your fingers รอยนิ้วมือ

genetic fingerprint
the genetic fingerprint of the parasites

spot - to see or notice
track -follow something (to see what happens to it)
spread - to cover, reach or have an effect on a wider or increasing area or number of people กระจายไปทั่ว แพร่หลาย, แพร่กระจาย

understanding the genetic fingerprint of the parasites would help scientists spot and track these strains if they spread further.


mutual - between two or more people ร่วมกัน
declaration - an official announcement that something is true or is happening การประกาศ

a mutual declaration - an official announcement by two organizations or people
signed a mutual declaration

prevention - the act of preventing something, or things that people do in order to prevent something
a malaria control and prevention project

Thailand, Myanmar and the US Agency for International Development last week signed a mutual declaration launching a malaria control and prevention project for the Myanmar-Thailand border.

press - newspapers and magazines, and those parts of television and radio which broadcast news, or reporters and photographers who work for them สื่อมวลชน
a press statement

scheme - a plan that is developed by a government or large organisation in order to provide a particular service for people แผนการ โครงการ
contribute - to help something happen
the scheme will contribute to ....

community -  all the people who live in one local place ชุมชน
communities along the Myanmar-Thailand border

the scheme will contribute to better health care among communities along the Myanmar-Thailand border

public health
- policies and study of the health of large numbers of people, whole communities and countries การสาธารณสุข
public health environment

the GMS [Greater Mekong Subregion] - the six states of the Mekong River basin, namely Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and Yunnan Province, China (See Wikipedia)


the scheme will contribute to the public health environment of the GMS [Greater Mekong Subregion] at large.

According to a press statement, the scheme “will contribute not only to better health care among communities along the Myanmar-Thailand border but also to the public health environment of the GMS [Greater Mekong Subregion] at large.

About the author

columnist
Writer: Jon Fernquest
Position: Online Writer