The appearance of malaria parasites resistant to medicines is one of the main obstacles in combating the disease.
In order to slow down this phenomenon, it is essential to avoid exposing the pathogen to the same molecules. For this reason, researchers are testing new treatments. They have recently demonstrated the efficacy of a "bi-therapy", which combines artesunate (a derivative of artemisinin, recommended by the WHO) with Malarone® (or Malanil®). The latter has been administered up to now as a preventative treatment for travelers or as a treatment in the industrialized nations, because it is so expensive. The fact that its patent entered the public domain in 2013 has made it possible to envisage its use among populations living in regions where the disease is endemic. Globally, the number of cases of malaria has been decreasing for several years now. Nonetheless, a spectre haunts the minds of the researchers: the resistance to drugs shown by the malaria parasites. These parasites, in particular Plasmodium falciparum, are in fact capable of developing resistance to all the treatments that currently exist. To slow down as much as possible the emergence and expansion of this resistance, it is necessary to use a variety of drugs and to rationalise their use. For the less the pathogens are exposed to the same molecules, the less resistance they will develop. Strains of P. falciparum resistant to Malarone® do exist. But systematically combining this drug with a derivative of artemisinin guarantees the patient a certain efficacy of treatment. In fact it is not very probable at the present time that a strain resistant to both of these drugs at once will be encountered.