Identifying Counterfeit Drugs Part of New Malaria Research

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) recently announced that it will create 10 malaria centers around the world to study issues related to the disease, including new methods for identifying counterfeit drugs used to treat the illness.

The NIAID, which is part of the National Institute of Health, will provide the centers with about $14 million in first year funding. The centers will likely be located in Africa, Asia, the Pacific Islands and Latin America, all places where malaria is a serious threat.

“One of our primary goals with these centers is to fund cutting-edge research in malaria-endemic areas that will keep up with the rapidly changing epidemiology of the disease,” said NIAID director Dr Anthony S. Fauci.

One of the emerging problems with antimalarial treatments is counterfeiting, which is part of the focus of the center in Southeast Asia.

"There are issues related to emerging drug resistance in Plasmodium falciparum, which causes the most serious form of the disease, as well as problems with fake and counterfeit drugs circulating in the region," Dr Liwang Cui, lead researcher at this center, told

An article appearing in the New England Journal of Medicine last year hypothesized that part of the likely the reason for slower malaria recovery rates in Cambodia compared to Thailand was the amount of counterfeit treatments in the former country.