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Another malaria drug launched in Uganda

By Vision Reporter

Added 5th November 2009 03:00 AM

A New anti-malarial drug has been launched in Uganda. Artefan is a combination of Artemether and Lumefantine, with the same chemical composition as Coartem.

A New anti-malarial drug has been launched in Uganda. Artefan is a combination of Artemether and Lumefantine, with the same chemical composition as Coartem.

By Raymond Baguma

A New anti-malarial drug has been launched in Uganda. Artefan is a combination of Artemether and Lumefantine, with the same chemical composition as Coartem.

It will gradually replace Coartem and a patient will swallow six tablets instead of 24.

Unveiling the drug at Kampala Serena Hotel on Tuesday, the national malaria control programme officer, Bosco Agaba, said the new drug complies with the World Health Organisation standards.
“There is inadequate funding for malaria control and lack of reliable suppliers who can meet the needs of the country in time,” he said.

“The arrival of this drug is not only a blessing to our control strategies but also deals with stock-outs and problems of forgetting to take too many tablets a day,” Agaba added.

The drug is manufactured by an Indian pharmaceutical company, Ajanta Pharma Limited, which operates in over 50 countries worldwide.

Ram Ajanta, the managing director, said the drug will improve treatment and control of malaria.

Dr. Baterana Byarugaba, the Mulago senior consultant and malaria physician, said Chloroquine ceased being the recommended drug for malaria treatment after being resistant to plasmodia.

He said the drug will be distributed to all government health units to replace Coartem. Quinine, he added, will only remain the second line of treatment.
Meanwhile, the most clinically advanced malaria vaccine should be ready for use in three to five years after the phase three trials, researchers said.

The vaccine trial announcement was made during the fifth multilateral initiative on malaria conference currently going on in Nairobi, Kenya.

The vaccine known as the RTS,S is expected to be at least 50% effective against severe malaria and will last up to one year. It is intended for children under the age of five who are most vulnerable to the disease.

“This is a tremendous moment in the fight against malaria and the culmination of more than two decades of research, including 10 years of clinical trials in Africa,” said Joe Cohen, the vaccine’s
co-inventor and researcher.

Malaria is the world’s deadliest infectious disease. It kills around 900,000 people every year, mainly children under five in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2006, the international community set a goal of having a malaria vaccine by 2025.

Another malaria drug launched in Uganda

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