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The World in Medicine
September 15, 2004

New Drug for Malaria?

JAMA. 2004;292(11):1294. doi:10.1001/jama.292.11.1294-c

A team of scientists from Australia, England, Switzerland, and the United States has created a new class of synthetic antimalaria drug that could provide a new weapon against drug-resistant malaria (Nature. 2004;430:900-904).

The drug is based on artemisinin, a traditional Chinese herbal remedy that is extracted from sweet wormwood. Artemisinin derivatives such as artensunate and artemether already have an increasingly important role in treating drug-resistant malaria. But their use has been limited because they require an expensive extraction process that makes them too costly for developing countries and because many patients have difficulty complying with the course of treatment.