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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

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