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A New Way To Make The Most Powerful Malaria Drug

In Malaria, Uncategorized on April 15, 2013 at 10:39 am

 

An extract of sweet wormwood has been used in China for thousands of years to treat malaria, but being able to make mass quantities of the extract has been elusive, until now.

An extract of sweet wormwood has been used in China for thousands of years to treat malaria, but being able to make mass quantities of the extract has been elusive, until now.

Researchers in California described Wednesday their new method for mass-producing the key ingredient for the herbal drug artemisinin, the most powerful antimalarial on the market. Already, the French drugmaker Sanofi is ramping up production at a plant in Italy to manufacture the ingredient and the drug.

Global health advocates say they expect this new method of producing artemisinin will at last provide a stable supply of the drug and cut the overall cost of malaria treatment.

Up until now, artemisinin has only been available commercially as an extract of the relatively scarce sweet wormwood plant. As global demand for the drug has climbed in the past decade, the price of that extract has been highly erratic. Between 2003 and 2004, the price of the compound jumped from just over $100 a pound to almost $550. By 2007, artemisinin prices had crashed. Then, two years later, prices almost doubled.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/04/10/176807016/a-new-way-to-make-the-most-powerful-malaria-drug

Citing Malaria, Natalie Gulbis withdraws from Founders Cup

In Malaria, Uncategorized on March 24, 2013 at 12:29 pm
Natalie Gulbis

Natalie Gulbis withdrew from the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup in Phoenix Tuesday night with her management team confirming that she contracted malaria while on the tour’s Asian swing.

Gulbis first became ill playing the HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore two weeks ago. She withdrew after the first round with her team reporting she was being medically treated for flu-like symptoms, but had not been diagnosed with malaria.


 

“Natalie originally became ill in Singapore and she was treated and medically cleared to fly home,” according to a statement released jointly by the LPGA and IMG, Gulbis’ management company. “Natalie continues to be treated at home and is expected to be at full strength in three weeks. Natalie’s well-being is a top priority for both the LPGA and IMG, and steps continue to be taken to ensure the well-being of Natalie and all the players on the LPGA Tour now and for future events. LPGA doctors have been consulted and believe she is on appropriate medications, under great care, and her prognosis is excellent.”

According to the Center for Disease Control, malaria is a “serious and sometimes fatal disease,” if not treated properly. It’s caused by a parasite that infects a certain kind of mosquito that feeds on human beings. The CDC reports that about 1,500 cases of malaria are diagnosed in the United States each year with the vast majority among travelers and immigrants returning from parts of the world where malaria transmission occurs, including South Asia.

The LPGA reports that tournament founding partner Scottsdale Healthcare will be on-site in Phoenix Wednesday to provide a blood draw for players, caddies and family members wishing to be screened.

http://www.golfchannel.com/news/golftalkcentral/citing-malaria-gulbis-withdraws-from-rr-donnelley/?cid=email_WendesdayNL_20130313

Dengue spreading fast, says WHO

In Dengue Fever, Uncategorized on January 21, 2013 at 8:35 am

January 20, 2013 in Health & Fitness

Dengue is the world’s fastest-spreading tropical disease and represents a “pandemic threat,” infecting an estimated 50 million people across all continents, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Wednesday.

Report by Reuters

Transmitted by the bite of female mosquitoes, the disease is occurring more widely due to increased movement of people and goods — including carrier objects such as bamboo plants and used tyres — as well as floods linked to climate change, the United Nations agency said.

The viral disease, which affected only a handful of areas in the 1950s, is now present in more than 125 countries — significantly more than malaria, historically the most notorious mosquito-borne disease.

The most advanced vaccine against dengue is only 30% effective, trials last year showed.

“In 2012, dengue ranked as the fastest spreading vector-borne viral disease with an epidemic potential in the world, registering a 30-fold increase in disease incidence over the past 50 years,” the WHO said in a statement.

Late last year, Europe suffered its first sustained outbreak since the 1920s, with 2 000 people infected on the Portuguese Atlantic island of Madeira.

Worldwide, two million cases of dengue are reported each year by 100 countries, mainly in Asia, Africa and Latin America, causing 5 000 to 6 000 deaths, said Raman Velayudhan, a specialist at the WHO’s control of neglected tropical diseases department.

But the true number is far higher as the disease has spread exponentially and is now present on all continents, he said.

“The WHO estimates that on average about 50 million cases occur every year. This is a very conservative estimate,” Velayudhan said, adding that some independent studies put the figure at 100 million.

“Dengue is the most threatening and fastest spreading mosquito-borne disease. It is pandemic-prone, but it is a threat only. Definitely a bigger threat now than ever,” he said

Malaria caused more deaths but was on the decline, affecting fewer than 100 countries.

Speaking to a news briefing after the WHO released a report on 17 neglected tropical diseases affecting 1 billion people, Velayudhan said: “The mosquito has silently expanded its distribution.

“So today you have [the] aedes mosquito in over 150 countries. The threat of dengue exists all across the globe.”

In Europe, the aedes mosquitoes that cause both dengue and chikungya disease have spread to 18 countries, often via the importation of ornamental bamboo or second-hand tires, he said.

“But we are trying to address this in a more systematic way, by controlling entry of vectors at points of entry — seaports, airports, as well as the ground crossings,” Velayudhan said, noting that it was hard to detect mosquitoes and their eggs.

The WHO also said it aimed to eliminate globally two neglected tropical diseases, dracunculiasis, known as guinea worm disease, in 2015, and yaws, or treponematoses, in 2020.

Symptoms of dengue

Dengue causes flu-like symptoms that subside in a few days in some sufferers. But the severe form of the disease requires hospitalisation for complications, including severe bleeding, that may be lethal.

There is no specific treatment but early detection and access to proper medical care lowers fatality rates below 1%, according to the Geneva-based WHO.

“You have to bear in mind that it has no treatment and vaccines are still in the research stage,” Velayudhan said.

The most advanced, being developed by French drugmaker Sanofi SA, proved only 30% effective in a large clinical trial in Thailand, far less than hoped, according to results published in September.

But researchers said it did show for the first time that a safe vaccine was possible.

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