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First large-scale shipment of new malaria drug shipped out

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
8/13/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Derived from the sweet wormwood plant, artemisinin shipped to six African nations

Just as virulent - as far more easily transmitted than Ebola, malaria is making new inroads to populations in sub-Saharan Africa. In response, French drug maker Sanofi has announced the delivery of large-scale batches of an antimalarial drug made using semi-synthetic artemisinin to six African countries.

The recent shipment marks a new phase in the fight against the mosquito-borne disease.

The recent shipment marks a new phase in the fight against the mosquito-borne disease.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
8/13/2014 (3 years ago)

Published in Health

Keywords: Artemesinin, malaria, wormwood, resistance


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Artemisinin, the key ingredient, is usually derived from the sweet wormwood plant.

The recent shipment marks a new phase in the fight against the mosquito-borne disease. The shipment of artemisinin will also reduce reliance on volatile supplies of the Chinese medicinal plant.

Save kids form malaria!

The botanical supply of sweet wormwood as well as the price of artemisinin can fluctuate widely, leading to periodic shortages.

The Chinese army first managed to isolate artemisinin from the sweet wormwood shrub in the 1960s. The medicine has since become the world's best line of defense against malaria, with artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACT) now recommended for the most deadly forms of the disease.

The Chinese army first managed to isolate artemisinin from the sweet wormwood shrub in the 1960s. Th

The Chinese army first managed to isolate artemisinin from the sweet wormwood shrub in the 1960s. The medicine has since become the world's best line of defense against malaria.


The new manufacturing process, as pioneered by Sanofi and the U.S.-based non-profit PATH produces the ingredient on an industrial scale. The process uses a genetically modified yeast to convert sugar into a precursor of artemisinin.

Sanofi says it has the capacity to produce 50 to 60 tons annually of semi-synthetic artemisinin, which corresponds to a third of the global annual need.

ACT drugs are recommended by the World Health Organization because of growing resistance to older treatments such as chloroquine.

However, parasite resistance to artemisinin has so far been detected in five South-East Asian countries: in Cambodia, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam (all in the Greater Mekong sub region).

Artemisinin resistance is also suspected is some parts of South America. Studies there are ongoing. Resistance is occurring as a consequence of several factors, including poor treatment practices, inadequate patient adherence to prescribed antimalarial regimens and the widespread availability of oral artemisinin-based monotherapies and substandard forms of the drug.

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