French drugmaker delivers first semi-synthetic malaria drugs

malaria
Credit: CDC

French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi announced Tuesday the delivery of the first anti-malaria drugs using a semi-synthetic version of their key ingredient to millions of patients in Africa.

Sanofi said that the development of semi-synthetic artemisinin—the weapon of choise against malaria—signalled a "new era" in the fight against the mosquito-borne disease.

Artemisinin is normally derived from a plant called sweet wormwood, but the weather can affect harvests of the plant, causing shortages and .

The drugmaker said it had been able to make 1.7 million treatments with the semi-synthetic alternative, which will be shipped to Burkina Faso, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Niger, and Nigeria in the coming months.

The World Health Organization gave the use of semi-synthetic artemisinin in malaria products the in May last year.

Sanofi said that "by complementing botanically-derived supplies, the new option can widen access to treatment for millions sickened by malaria every year."

According to the WHO's last malaria report, published last December, the disease killed 627,000 people in 2012, mainly children in Africa, with an estimated 207 million cases worldwide.

© 2014 AFP

Citation: French drugmaker delivers first semi-synthetic malaria drugs (2014, August 12) retrieved 25 February 2024 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-08-french-drugmaker-semi-synthetic-malaria-drugs.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Explore further

Antimalarial drug artemisinin moves into production

 shares

Feedback to editors