We await publication of peer-reviewed studies giving full details of what researchers have found in Cambodia. In the meantime, several media outlets have now given the development their attention. Professor Nick Day, director of the Mahidol-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit, told the BBC: “Twice in the past, South East Asia has made a gift, unwittingly, of drug resistant parasites to the rest of the world, in particular to Africa. If the same thing happens again… there will be devastating consequences for malaria control.” BBC World Service has also published two interesting podcasts on the situation.
According to the FirstPost a US study in Cambodia found delayed clearance of malaria parasites in between one third and a half of patients. In a UK study, patients living in Cambodia took almost twice as long to clear the malaria parasite as a comparison group in Thailand.
Even a UK mass market tabloid the Daily Mirror, which normally avoids topics such as the infectious diseases of poverty, has a news story. While its headline - ‘Killer new malaria bug discovered’ - is hardly helpful, it does demonstrate an awareness of the seriousness of the situation.