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BANGKOK: A form of mal­aria that is resistant to standard treatment has spre­­ad to Vietnam for the first time, re­­­searchers warned on Friday.

The strain was originally detected in Cambodia in 2007, and experts are calling for action before it reaches other areas such as India or Africa.

“It spread like a wildfire to Vietnam,” professor Arjen Dondorp, head of malaria department at the tropical medicine research unit at Mahidol University in Bangkok, said. The co-author of an article published on Thursday in the medical journal The Lancet Infec­tious Diseases added: “It started 10 years ago in wes­­tern Cambodia. It is very fit and spreads very easily. This resistance is taking over.

“Cambodia already chan­ged to a new drug, likely to last one or two years.

Vietnam has to change now.” After its detection in western Cambodia in 2007, the strain then spread to northeastern Thailand, sout­hern Laos and eastern Mya­n­mar, a previous study by Dondorp and colleagues said.

Published in Dawn, September 23rd, 2017