Two articles and a Commentary in this week’s issue highlight how combination therapy offers the best hope for tackling drug resistance for the millions of people worldwide affected by malaria.
Drug resistance is the main barrier to effective malaria treatment. Artemisinin (extract of sweet wormwood , commonly used in Chinese herbal medicine) and its derivatives, artemether and artesunate, are of potential importance as other malarial drugs have been associated with microbial resistance.
A meta-analysis by the International Artemisinin Study Group of 16 randomised trials (12 from sub-Saharan Africa, three from Thailand, one from Peru) shows that artesunate was highly effective in treating malaria when added to other antimalarial drugs. Around 6000 patients were participants in the studies. Artesunate decreased parasite failure by around 80% and doubled the rate of parasite clearance compared with patients given standard malaria treatment.
Richard Lane | alfa
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