NEW DRUG FOR MALARIA                              7.11.2014

by Charles Muasya

A new drug to treat malaria in children under five years  will soon be
hospitals following  clinical trials just released.

Artesunate -Mefloquine Fixed-Dose Combination (ASMQ FDC) proves safe
and efficacious to treat children with malaria in Africa.

Clinical trials results carried by Drugs for Neglected Diseases
initiative (DNDi) provide evidence for introducing the Artemisinun
Devivative -based combination therapy (ACT) into Africa’s current
malaria treatment arsenal to help tackle the number one parasitic

The trials  were launched in 2008 to test the efficacy and
tolerability  of ASMQ fixed -dose combination (FDC) in children under
five years with uncomplicated falciparum malaria show that  the drug
is as safe and efficacious as Artemether-Lumefantrine (AL) FDC-
Africa’s most widely adopted treatment.

The phase IV, open-label, randomized, controlled, non-inferiority
clinical trial included 945 children under five years who were
followed for 63 days with ASMQ administered once a day during the
three days. The study was conducted in Burkina Faso, Kenya and

ASMQ FDC is one of several recommended ACTs that aim to delay the
emergence resistance to the individual drug components of the
combination treatment.

According to DNDi , ASMQ FDC treatment regimen is easier to administer
as the two drugs are combined into one tablet that only requires
once-a-day administration over three days compared to twice-a-day over
three days for AL.

” The ASMQ fixed-dose-combination has proven its importance among
tools recommended by World Health Organization (WHO) and can now be
available to African children suffering from uncomplicated falciparum
malaria”, says DNDi Executive Director  Dr. Benard Pecoul  in the
trial findings released through the African Press Organization (APO).

He hopes the Governments in the affected African Countries  will adopt
the additional treatment option to ensure their population have
access to several ACTs.

ASMQ FDC was originally developed by DNDi  and the Brazilian
government owned  pharmaceutical company Farmanquinhos- Fiocrus in
2008 , technology transfer achieved in 2010  to facilitate its
implementation worldwide and pre-qualified by WHO in 2012.

The drug is currently registered in Brazil, India, Myanmar, Malaysia,
Vietnam, Tanzania and Niger and is pending registration in 17
countries in Africa and Asia.

Since 2000, remarkable progress has been made in the fight against
malaria with 42 percent recorded reduction in deaths globally.

WHO estimates that in 2012, there were 207 million cases of malaria
and that 627,000 deaths are attributed to the disease mostly in Africa
that recorded 90 percent of the deaths.

Children continue to be the most affected accounting to 77 percent for
all deaths with an estimated 462,000 deaths in African children under
the age of five years in 2012 with most deaths caused by plasmodium

Dr. Pecoul says ASMQ FDC drug is a simple prescription  which is easy
to use based on once-a-day administration.

” Dosage selection of the tablets allows for a simple and adapted
regimen for children and adults”, he says.

DNDi has delivered  six new treatments, two fixed-dose antimalarials
(ASAQ and ASMQ) ,nifurtimox- eflornithine combination therapy (NECT)
for late-stage sleeping sickness, sodium stibogluconate and
paramomycin (SSG and PM) for combination therapy for visceral
leishmaniasis in Africa.



About meshakenya

Media for Environment, Science, Health and Agriculture in Kenya (MESHA) is an association of communicators who are specialized in science, environment, agriculture, health, technology and development reporting.
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