Antimalarial drugs are key tools for the control and elimination of malaria. Recent decreases in the global malaria burden are likely due, in part, to the deployment of artemisinin-based combination therapies. Therefore, the emergence and potential spread of artemisinin-resistant parasites in southeast Asia and changes in sensitivities to artemisinin partner drugs have raised concerns. In recognition of this urgent threat, the International Centers of Excellence for Malaria Research (ICEMRs) are closely monitoring antimalarial drug efficacy and studying the mechanisms underlying drug resistance. At multiple sentinel sites of the global ICEMR network, research activities include clinical studies to track the efficacies of antimalarial drugs, ex vivo/in vitro assays to measure drug susceptibilities of parasite isolates, and characterization of resistance-mediating parasite polymorphisms. Taken together, these efforts offer an increasingly comprehensive assessment of the efficacies of antimalarial therapies, and enable us to predict the emergence of drug resistance and to guide local antimalarial drug policies. Here we briefly review worldwide antimalarial drug resistance concerns, summarize research activities of the ICEMRs related to drug resistance, and assess the global impacts of the ICEMR programs.
© The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.