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Health | Science - Education

New, cheap malaria cure for Africa presented

afrol News, 10 November - A totally new malaria cure, based on an Asian medicinal herb, is to be presented at a congress in Yaoundé, Cameroon, on Monday and to the African market in 2006. The medicine, costing just 1 euro per adult patient and 50 cent per child, is described as "a tremendous breakthrough that could save millions of lives," by its producers.

The new malaria cure was today made public by Dafra Pharma, a Belgian company specialised on malaria medicines since 1997. The "new single-day cure for malaria" has already been widely tested on several locations in Africa, making it ready for marketing in 2006.

The efficacy of the new treatment was tested by Professor Penali from the Pasteur Institute in Abidjan (Côte d'Ivoire) in accordance with World Health Organisation (WHO) regulations, Dafra informs. "After the initial cure, which takes just a day, patients suffered no subsequent relapses, not even 28 days after the start of treatment, nor were any parasites left in the patients' blood," the company says in a statement.

In addition to this study in Côte d'Ivoire, the Belgian pharmaceutical company had conducted several field studies testing the drug on human in Congo Kinshasa (DRC). Here, the findings had been "reconfirmed".

The company holds that its new cure is simpler, more effective and cheaper than any other malaria cures on the market. It is a fixed-dose combination (FDC) of two active ingredients in a single tablet. "Mounting resistance to existing treatments and problems associated with post-treatment relapses have rendered more conventional therapies increasingly ineffective," Dafra says in its statement.

The company had developed three different FDC's for patients of different weights, including one for children, infants or pregnant women. In Africa, in particular children are very affected by malaria, causing very high mortality rates.

The new cure has been developed with a special mind for the African market. According to the company, "the recommended price for government purchases of the drug will be just 1 euro per adult patient and 50 cent per child, making the new one-day therapy the cheapest anti-malarial treatment of all Artemisinin based Combination Therapies (ACT's)."

Dafra Pharma plans to unveil its new medicine on 14 November at the Multilateral Initiative for Malaria (MIM) Congress in Yaoundé, which some 2,000 scientists will attend. The new treatment "will be launched on the African market in 2006," the company adds.

The Belgian company is already present all over the African market with other anti-malaria drugs based on the same extract from an Asian herb - artémisinine. Dafra Pharma has subsidiaries in Mali, South Africa and Kenya where it also produces generic drugs. It exports to more than 40 countries world-wide and has more than 115 employees working in Africa.

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