LONDON - A new, cherry-flavoured anti-malaria pill works as well as current treatments, is easy for children to swallow and could save lives, researchers reported on Wednesday.
The tablet is not as bitter as current drugs and does not need to be crushed before eating, making it easier for children where the disease is endemic to stick to treatment, they said.
â€œThe dispersible formulation is easy to administer, gives compliance and effective treatment; and hence facilitates adoption in malaria control programmes,â€ Salim Abdulla of the Ifakara Health Institute in Tanzania and colleagues wrote in the Lancet medical journal.
The World Health Organisation estimates malaria killed 881,000 people and infected 247 million people worldwide in 2006, the latest year for which figures were available.
The disease has become resistant to some drugs. One effective treatment is Novartis AGâ€™s Coartem.
The problem with current drugs is that many young children cannot swallow whole tablets and crushing them can weaken the medicine.