What is this “super malaria” or “superbug” that is “spreading fast” in Southeast Asia?

The spread of life-threatening super malaria is posing a new challenge in the health sector. The fast spread of the mutated strain of the dangerous disease is an alarming global threat, scientists have warned.

Facts about super malaria

The strain of super malaria or superbug that is now spreading fast in Southeast Asia is known as PfPailin.

The parasite was first detected in Cambodia. It has since spread through parts of Thailand, Laos and has arrived in southern Vietnam.

This super malaria parasite cannot be killed with existing anti-malaria drugs.

This super malaria cannot be treated with first-line anti-malarial drugs.

The team at the Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit in Bangkok, according to BBC reports, fears a real danger of the malaria becoming untreatable.

In a letter, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, researchers detailed the “recent sinister development” that has seen resistance to the drug Artemisinin emerge.

The first choice treatment for malaria is Artemisinin in combination with Piperaquine.

But as Artemisinin has become less effective, the parasite has now evolved to resist piperaquine too.

There have now been “alarming rates of failure”, the letter said.

Resistance to the drugs would be catastrophic in Africa, where 92 per cent of all malaria cases happen.

According to WHO, over 212 million people the world over are infected with malaria each year, and nearly 430,000 people died from the disease in 2015.