May 23, 2012Science and Technology
New process could make malaria drug less costly

Scientists have developed a process that would make the most effective anti-malarial treatment less costly. The new technique makes it easier to produce artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) which utilizes artemisinin, a compound that comes from the medicinal plant Artemisia annua, grown in China. Due to weather conditions and the demand for ACT, prices for the plant can fluctuate, sometimes reaching higher than 400 dollars per pound. The new process can produce a higher-yield of ACT in just two steps and is less costly because requires less artemisinin. Even a “semisynthetic” version of artemisinin worked well in the new process, which also generates less potentially hazardous waste that the current method. “We are in the process of sharing this procedure with manufacturing partners in our global fight to combat malaria,” the researchers said.

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