Artemisinin-based therapy may not be the best treatment for uncomplicated malaria in Africa

A paper published in this month’s PLoS Medicine suggests that combination therapy based on artemisinins (one of the newer antimalarial classes of drug) might not be the ideal treatment for uncomplicated malaria in Africa. If used alone, artemisinins will cure the most severe type of malaria -falciparum malaria -in seven days. However, when used on their own, they have a high risk of the malaria coming back and hence must be combined with other antimalarials to work best. Artemisinins may also slow down development of resistance to the partner drug. But although combinations including artemisinins have been widely advocated, they are expensive and relatively untested in areas where malaria is very frequent.

In a randomised trial conducted at four sites in Uganda, the researchers, led by Grant Dorsey from UCSF, showed that patients treated with a cheaper combination of drugs –amodiaquine and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine–had at least as good a chance of preventing recurrent malarial infection (defined as either new infections or the previous infection returning) compared with patients treated with artemisinin-based combination therapy. In the sites that had the highest transmission rates the cheaper combination worked better. The authors conclude that although artemisinin combinations offer great hope for Africa, the ideal combination regimen remains uncertain and cost is a problem. To compare the efficacy of the different therapies, bigger and longer controlled trials are needed in many different conditions.

Media Contact

Paul Ocampo EurekAlert!

All latest news from the category: Health and Medicine

This subject area encompasses research and studies in the field of human medicine.

Among the wide-ranging list of topics covered here are anesthesiology, anatomy, surgery, human genetics, hygiene and environmental medicine, internal medicine, neurology, pharmacology, physiology, urology and dental medicine.

Back to home

Comments (0)

Write a comment

Newest articles

Deep learning dreams up new protein structures

A neural network trained exclusively to predict protein shapes can also generate new ones. Just as convincing images of cats can be created using artificial intelligence, new proteins can now…

How to freeze-dry a potential COVID-19 vaccine

In Science Advances, scientists report successfully freeze-drying specialized liposomes that could be developed for use in future vaccines. Things that are freeze-dried: Astronaut food. Emergency rations. And, just maybe, some…

Record-breaking simulations of large-scale structure formation in the universe

Researchers led by the University of Tsukuba present computer simulations that capture the complex dynamics of elusive neutrinos left over from the Big Bang. Current simulations of cosmic structure formation…

Partners & Sponsors