News / Health

Alternate Therapy for Malaria As Effective as Gold Standard Treatment

Jessica Berman

Scientists have developed a new and improved drug regimen to treat malaria that they say is as effective as the standard therapy and more convenient.  

Malaria infects up to 500 million people each year and claims the lives of one million people, mostly children in sub-Saharan Africa.  

The disease is transmitted by the bite of the female mosquito infecting people with the parasite that causes the disease.

Researchers have been trying to develop an effective alternative therapy to the standard antimalarial regimen to give health care workers in malaria endemic countries more effective treatments, according to Isabelle Borghini-Fuhrer, associate director of clinical sciences at the organization Medicines for Malaria Venture or MMV in Geneva.

"It's very important because some drugs are better tolerated by some patients than others," said Isabelle Borghini-Fuhrer. "Then there's also the phenomenon of resistance to certain drugs that appears when drugs are widely used.  And therefore there needs to be alternative treatments so patients can be immediately treated."

Borghini-Fuhrer says the new combination therapy of the drugs pyronaridine and artensunate are every bit as effective and only need to be administered once a day.  The regimen that's currently in widespread use must be taken two times per day.

A large clinical trial comparing the two antimalarial therapies was conducted in seven locations in Africa and three in Asia in participants ages 3 to 60-years-old.   In the head-to-head contest, almost 800 patients were given the new drug combination and nearly 400 participants received the standard therapy of artemether-lumefantrine.  Each were administered for three days.

The new treatment turned out to be 99.5 percent effective in ridding patients of the malaria parasite.  The standard combination therapy was effective in 90 percent of patients.  

Steven Duparc is chief medical officer at Medicines for Malaria Venture and co-author of the study.  Duparc says MMV has asked the drugs' manufacturers to keep the cost of the new combination therapy down.

"To ensure the drug will not cost more than $0.5 for the treatment of children and less than one U.S. dollar for the treatment of adults," said Steven Duparc.

Duparc says the new antimalaria regimen still needs the approval of European regulators and the World Health Organization before it's available for wide distribution in malaria endemic countries, probably in slightly more than a year.  

Investigators now want to test the new combination in children who are malnourished or who have anemia.

The results of the study on the new, once-a-day antimalarial drug therapy are published this week in the journal The Lancet.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs