Sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) is used throughout Africa for intermittent preventive treatment (IPT) of malaria, but resistance threatens its efficacy. We found marked regional differences in the genotypes responsible for SP resistance when mapping recent surveys of dihydrofolate reductase (dhfr) and dihydropteroate synthase (dhps) mutations. In West Africa, a 'partially resistant' combination of dhfr N51I, N59R, and S108N with dhps A437G predominates, whereas in East Africa the 'fully resistant' combination of dhfr N51I, N59R, and S108N with dhps A437G+K540E is found. There are three East African foci where 'fully resistant' populations have additionally acquired dhps 581G and/or dhfr 164L to become 'super resistant'. SP-IPT in infants and pregnant women is reported to have failed in super resistant areas prompting review of SP-IPT use in affected areas.
Keywords: drug resistance; intermittent preventive treatment (IPT); malaria; sulfadoxine–pyrimethamine (SP); super resistance.
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