17 April 2018

Africa: Group Seeks New Combination Therapies for Malaria

Medicines for Malaria Ventures (MMV) says it is working with various organisations to develop new combination therapies to address the challenges of anti-malarial drug resistance.

MMV is an organisation that aims to reduce the burden of malaria in disease endemic countries by discovering, developing and delivering new, effective and affordable antimalarial drugs.

Anti-malarial drug resistance is a threat to malaria control and has significant implications for global public health. Resistance has a major impact on the cost of global malaria control due to the need for new drugs and the costs of treatment failures.

According to a statement issued by Ready to Beat Malaria, a non-governmental organisation, MMV said the new therapies will be done by identifying molecules with novel mechanisms of action and antimalarial activity against all known resistant parasite strains.

It said the goal is also to have simpler dosing regimens to improve patient compliance to treatment, which will in turn protect against the development of drug resistance in the future.

The statement also identified malaria as the number one killer in Borno State, noting that the eight-year Boko Haram insurgency in the North-east has had a huge impact on malaria in the state, destroying and damaging 60 per cent of the health facilities and leading to the displacement of 3.7 million people, all of whom are at risk of malaria.

According to the 2017 World Malaria Report, there were 216 million cases of malaria in 2016, up from 211 million cases in 2015. The number of malaria deaths was 445,000 in 2016 against 438,000 in 2015.

Ninety percent of malaria cases and over 90 percent of malaria deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa. Children under five are particularly at risk, and malaria takes the life of a child every two minutes.

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