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Scientists find new genetic sources for malaria's drug resistance

The Plasmodium falciparum parasite that causes malaria.
The Plasmodium falciparum parasite that causes malaria. Credit: Mae Melvin / CDC

Scientists have found new genetic mutations that enable the malaria-causing parasite to resist current treatments. It could lead to the next generation of more effective antimalarial drugs, according to a study published Thursday in Science.

Why this matters: In 2016, malaria caused 445,000 deaths from the 216 million cases recorded and the WHO now says we are no longer making progress in the fight against the disease. The Plasmodium falciparum parasite, which causes the severest form of malaria, has become more resistant to current drug regimes.