Several years after it was banned as the first line drug for treatment of uncomplicated malaria, Chloroquine, one of the oldest anti-malaria drugs, appears to be gradually making a comeback.
A decade and a half ago, Chloroquine was one of the most popular and efficacious anti-malaria drugs in the world. It remains one of the few drugs that can be safely taken in early pregnancy.
Chloroquine was in use for more than 50 years before misuse and adulteration led to development of resistance by the malaria parasite and subsequent ban of the drug by the World Health Organisation. Nigeria banned chloroquine as first line drug of treatment in 2005.
But resistance monitoring tests carried out at the University of Copenhagen, show that the previously efficacious drug is once again beginning to work against malaria.
Tests by resistance monitoring show that in a number of African countries, malaria parasites are succumbing to the formerly used drug chloroquine. The tests were carried out by Associate Professor at the Center for Medical Parasitology at the University of Copenhagen, Dr. Michael Alifrangis, along with Magatte Ndiaye, a PhD student at Université Cheikh Anta Diop in Senegal.
In excerpts of a study published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, Alifrangis noted that up to 70 percent of the malaria parasites found in Senegal are reacting once again to chloroquine.
"This is a trend we have also seen in Tanzania and Mozambique, and which other researchers have shown in Malawi. Our choice of drugs against malaria is limited and related, so when the malaria parasite once again reacts to a substance, it influences several treatment methods."