Amplification of Plasmodium falciparum Multidrug Resistance Gene 1 in Isolates from Gabon

Uhlemann, Anne-Catrin; Ramharter, Michael; Lell, Bertrand; Kremsner, Peter G.; Krishna, Sanjeev
November 2005
Journal of Infectious Diseases;11/15/2005, Vol. 192 Issue 10, p1830
Academic Journal
The study of molecular markers of drug resistance is particularly important in surveillance studies of drugs, such as mefloquine, that still retain efficacy in sub-Saharan Africa yet have encountered resistance elsewhere. In a recent study in Thailand, we identified amplification of the Plasmodium falciparum multidrug resistance gene 1 (pfmdr1) as being the most important predictor of in vitro drug resistance and in vivo failure of mefloquine monotherapy. Here we report amplification of pfmdr1 in >5% of patient samples from Lambaréné, Gabon, collected in 1995. None of the samples collected 7 years later showed pfmdr1 amplification, suggesting that parasites with increased numbers of pfmdr1 copies have not substantially spread through the population. Nevertheless, the detection of multicopy pfmdr1 in African parasites suggests a high potential for rapid selection for resistance, implying that mefloquine use in Africa should be considered only as part of combination therapy.


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