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Wednesday, 31 August 2005 12:38
BNN: British Nursing News Online · www.bnn-online.co.uk
New drug to treat malaria
The World Health Organisation is to recommend the drug artesunate for the treatment of severe malaria after trials showed it is more effective than current therapy.

The Lancet study found that the drug, derived from traditional Chinese medicine, cut deaths from the illness by more than a third.

The trial, funded by the Welcome Trust, compared artesunate with quinine the drug currently used to fight malaria. Only 15 per cent of adults who received the new treatment died, compared to 22 per cent who were given quinine.

Prof Nick White, who led the research, said: "The difference in mortality is huge. For between every 11 and 20 patients who come into hospital you save one life.

"Until this, there has never been any trial in severe malaria which showed a clear difference in mortality between the two treatments."

Dr Peter Olumese from WHO and Roll Back Malaria said on the BBC News website: "For the first time they have shown a mortality advantage of artesunate over quinine.

"Now we can make recommendations that in areas of low disease transmission, artesunate would be a preferred option over quinine for adults with severe malaria."


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