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Image of the Week: World Malaria Day 2014

25 Apr, 2014

Patient samples being prepared for checks under the microscope for signs of the malaria parasite at the Wang Pha SMRU clinic.


To mark World Malaria Day, our image of the week shows blood samples taken from villagers on the Thailand-Myanmar border before they go under the microscope to be examined for signs of the malaria parasite. It as part of a series of photos taken to illustrate How malaria defeats our drugs, a feature written by Ed Yong for Mosaic, a new long form science journalism publication from the Wellcome Trust.

Drug resistant strains of malaria have been traced to a pocket of western Cambodia that is home to genetically dynamic strains of the disease. Our best malaria drug, Artemisinin, is on the brink of failure as resistance to it is emerging there. If Artemisinin-resistant malaria spreads to Africa, where it is far more deadly than in Southeast Asia, it would be disastrous. Prof Dominic Kwiatkowski and his team at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute have been studying the these pathogens to better understand the biological mechanisms behind this tendency to evolve resistance.

Scientists in the Wellcome Trust’s Major Overseas Programme in Thailand are trying to eliminate malaria once and for all. Professors Nick White, François Nosten are on the frontline of that battle, working to stop the resistant strain of the parasite from crossing over into Myanmar, which acts as a gateway to India and Bangladesh. If it makes it to these densely populated countries, it will be impossible to contain, and its eventual spread to Africa will be inevitable.

These curiously stubborn strains of malaria from this corner of western Cambodia have become the scourge of some our finest minds. To get the full picture read Ed Yong’s feature for Mosaic,illustrated with stunning photography from Ian Teh, who took the photo above.

World Malaria Day is a World Health Organisation campaign to raise awareness about the fight against the disease, which kills around 627,000 people each year. Combating infectious diseases like malaria is one of the Wellcome Trust’s core research challenges.

Image credit: © Ian Teh/Panos

3 Comments leave one →
  1. 25 Apr, 2014 10:44 am

    Reblogged this on Progress.

  2. 26 Apr, 2014 9:41 am

    Reblogged this on The Sausage Machine.

  3. egensdiagnostics permalink
    23 Jun, 2014 7:58 am

    It is very horrible to know about malaria parasite is defeat our drug so how to stop this dangerous disease?

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