A large investment is required to develop, license and deploy a new antimalarial drug. Too often, that investment has been rapidly devalued by the selection of parasite populations resistant to the drug action. To understand the mechanisms of selection, detailed information on the patterns of drug use in a variety of environments, and the geographic and temporal patterns of resistance is needed. Currently, there is no publically-accessible central database that contains information on the levels of resistance to antimalaria drugs. This paper outlines the resources that are available and the steps that might be taken to create a dynamic, open access database that would include current and historical data on clinical efficacy, in vitro responses and molecular markers related to drug resistance in Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax. The goal is to include historical and current data on resistance to commonly used drugs, like chloroquine and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine, and on the many combinations that are now being tested in different settings. The database will be accessible to all on the Web. The information in such a database will inform optimal utilization of current drugs and sustain the longest possible therapeutic life of newly introduced drugs and combinations. The database will protect the valuable investment represented by the development and deployment of novel therapies for malaria.
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