Malaria - Are We Finally Approaching Eradication?

Malaria - Are We Finally Approaching Eradication?

Malaria - Are We Finally Approaching Eradication?

A non profit company, Institute for OneWorld Health is doing its part to help eradicate malaria from the face of the earth by developing affordable medicines

   

Malaria - Are We Finally Approaching Eradication?

image by: John Tann

According to the Institute for One WorldHealth,"Malaria causes 300 -500 million acute illnesses and over one million deaths annually. Ninety percent of deaths due to malaria occur in Sub-Saharan Africa, but there is also high prevalence in countries of Asia and Latin America. Today approximately 40% of the world's population (mostly those living in the world's poorest countries) is susceptible to malaria".

Artemisinin is an antimalarial drug derived from the wormwood plant (A. annua), which is found in parts of Asia and Africa. Its cultivation, harvesting and extraction are time consuming and labor intensive. Lack of access to this vital compound prevents millions of people in the developing world from receiving life-saving ACTs. The Artemisinin Project "aims to produce a reliable supply of an essential component of the World Health Organization's recommended treatment for malaria—artemisinin combination therapies, or ACTs—at an affordable price.

Armed with a US$42.6 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, OneWorld Health is collaborating with the California Institute of Quantitative Biomedical Research at the University of California, Berkeley, Amyris and Sanofi to design a robust process to use fermentation combined with innovative synthetic chemistry to produce artemisinin.

"Our goal is to create a stable, second source of artemisinin to supplement existing natural sources. It is hoped that this source of semisynthetic artemisinin will be more affordable for drug manufacturers. In turn, this will help reduce the price of ACTs, making them more accessible to people in malaria afflicted countries".

Maybe, just maybe, malaria has met its match. It remains to be seen.

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Last Updated : Thursday, September 1, 2022