Once malaria has been confirmed by lab or biochemical diagnosis, treatment has to start right away to give the person the best chance of survival with as few complications as possible so let’s say we’re going to use anti malarial drugs to treat the disease, so to make sure we’re using the right drugs, we’ll need to know a few things. We need to know what type of plasmodium is causing the infection because some subtypes will just respond to drugs that others might not, we’ll need to know how the patient’s doing, is this an uncomplicated malaria with flu II symptoms fevers and chills that kind of stuff or is this severe malaria with systemic life-threatening symptoms? we’ll need to know what we’re dealing with and we’ll also need to know if these parasites that are causing the infection, if they’re resistant to any of our treatments, maybe the infection was picked up in you know a part of the world known to have treatment resistant malaria so there’s a couple things we need to know right off the bat before we start treatment.
So let’s say our patient has uncomplicated malaria and let’s remind ourselves that uncomplicated is still very serious, and let’s say another person has severe malaria, the person with uncomplicated malaria might just be hanging out at home but he or she is really exhausted and fluey feeling but he’s at home but the one with severe malaria is in a hospital bed and got an IV in, also being monitored, being totally looked after by the hospital staff and that’s because for the uncomplicated malaria person, they can take their anti malarial drugs in pill form, he or she can just take it at home but severe malaria person, remember they’re having systemic symptoms….maybe the blood pressure is dangerously lower, maybe he or she is severely anemic or maybe their brain symptoms cerebral malaria where they’re having seizures or maybe the brain just isn’t controlling their breathing properly or maybe their in a coma so he’s in hospital because in addition to getting anti-malarials which would be gotten through the IV line (they won’t get them in pill form)they’ll also need constant medical care to make sure that the person survives.
So let’s talk about the types of medicines that can cure a malaria infection, so remember that there’s essentially two stages of infection, with malaria there’s a liver phase where sporozoites infect your liver cells and multiply into thousands of marrows o lights and then there’s a red blood cell phase where these little marrow sites break out of your liver cells and infect your red blood cells and once they’re inside your red blood cells they turn into what are called trophy sites,they hang out for a while and then they multiply into thousands more marrow sites again, so we have medications that can destroy these parasites at any of these stages which is good, so for uncomplicated malaria the person usually gets treated with combination therapy which means that they take a few different drugs to treat their malaria so they take usually two to three drugs because if you just use one drug to treat a malaria infection. Pretty quickly the parasites are going to figure out how to become resistant right how to avoid being killed by that one drug and in fact this is already a huge problem, there’s already a lot of drug resistance that’s cropped up in different parts of the world so that’s why it’s super important to use combination therapies to make sure that no potentially mutated parasites survive after treatment otherwise one day we just won’t have any drugs left at work so the recommended combination for for treating uncomplicated malaria is called a CT artemisinin.