Revolutionary Malaria Tests Have Unexpected Downsides

Revolutionary Malaria Tests Have Unexpected Downsides

Despite rapid tests, health workers undertreat malaria – and overuse antibiotics – a big new study shows

Science, 2017

Editorial Rating



  • Scientific
  • Overview
  • Concrete Examples


With the availability of a simple test to detect malaria and a therapy to treat it effectively, the disease should no longer be a major public health issue. In fact, rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) and artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) have revolutionized malaria treatment in poor areas of Africa and South Asia. However, a meta-study reveals undesirable effects that accompany the benefits. Leslie Roberts, a deputy news editor at Science Magazine, discusses the underlying issues, points out the needs, and cites medical experts. getAbstract recommends this article to anyone interested in public health issues.


Will artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) stem malaria

Malaria remains a public health issue, especially in poor regions in Africa and South Asia. ACTs hold the potential to contain the disease effectively. But, health workers who can’t always diagnose the cause of fever give ACTs to malaria patients and to patients with similar symptoms. This threatens the efficacy of ACTs since drug overuse can cause malaria parasites to become resistant.

About the Author

Leslie Roberts is a deputy news editor at Science Magazine where she supervises the biology writing team. Her recent articles focus on infectious diseases in poor countries.

More on this topic

The Rules of Contagion
Deep Medicine
Dubious Diagnosis
Immune System, Unleashed by Cancer Therapies, Can Attack Organs
Relocalizing Health

Related Channels