Home > Online Clinic News > New Malaria Hope

Latest News

by Robert MacKay, Friday, March 25, 2011 | Categories: Travel Clinic

A Canadian research team and a Californian research team have made a breakthrough discovery for the future of malaria treatment.  The Canadian team discovered an easier way to harvest the chemical, artemisinin, which is notoriously difficult to obtain but which is now a key ingredient in modern anti-malaria medications. The other team discovered a new precursor to artemisinin and when both teams met, they made an invaluable discovery.

Artemisinin is usually extracted from the sweet wormwood plant in a laborious and time-consuming process. The Canadian scientists exposed the genetic information of wormwood plant that produces the protein which goes on to make artemisinin.

Simultaneously, researchers at UC, Berkley, developed a precursor to artemisinin when chemicals were mixed with yeast. The Canadian group suggested that their genes would be mixed with the compound created at Berkley and sure enough when two of the genes were mixed with the yeast compound they found that the production of artemisinin had doubled.

The companies are preparing to increase production and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has provided financial backing and this will ensure that no profit will be made from the drug in developing communities. This yeast- fermentation method will ensure prices remain low and the supply plentiful as the process of making artemisinin will be much easier and much quicker than before and will not have to rely on weather conditions and soil fertility.

We use cookies on this website. By using this site, you agree that we may store and access cookies on your device. Find out more Close