In vitro sensitivity of Plasmodium falciparum to artesunate in Thailand

Bull World Health Organ. 1999;77(5):392-8.


Reported are the in vitro susceptibilities of Plasmodium falciparum to artesunate, mefloquine, quinine and chloroquine of 86 isolates and to dihydroartemisinin of 45 isolates collected from areas of high resistance to mefloquine within Thailand near the borders with Myanmar and Cambodia, and from southern Thailand where P. falciparum is generally still sensitive to mefloquine. All the isolates were highly sensitive to artesunate, but the geometric mean IC50S were higher in isolates from the Thai-Myanmar and Thai-Cambodian borders than in those from southern Thailand. The IC50S for mefloquine and artesunate were strongly correlated (Pearson r = 0.605; n = 86; P < 0.00001). As expected, the in vitro sensitivities to dihydroartemisinin and artesunate were similar and strongly correlated (at IC50, Pearson r = 0.695; n = 45; P < 0.00002). The correlation between the activity of mefloquine and artesunate requires further investigation in order to determine the potential for development of cross-resistance in nature. Our results suggest that combination with mefloquine is not the ideal way of protecting the usefulness of artemisinin and its derivatives. A search for more suitable partner drugs to these compounds and careful regulation of their use are necessary in the interest of ensuring their long therapeutic life span.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Antimalarials / pharmacology*
  • Artemisinins*
  • Artesunate
  • Drug Resistance*
  • Humans
  • Malaria, Falciparum / drug therapy*
  • Nonlinear Dynamics
  • Plasmodium falciparum / drug effects*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sesquiterpenes / pharmacology*
  • Thailand


  • Antimalarials
  • Artemisinins
  • Sesquiterpenes
  • Artesunate