Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Africa
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-----------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-----------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Sport 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 
Friday, 28 January, 2000, 01:02 GMT
Drug combination could curb malaria

Mosquito The malarial mosquito - new therapy could curb the disease


By Ania Lichtarowicz of BBC Science

A new combination of drugs could slow down the spread of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa, according to an article in the medical journal The Lancet.

The treatment, which involves a combination of an already used drug and a newer medication, could also mean the malaria parasites will be less likely to become resistant to the treatment - something that in the long term would not only save lives but also vast amounts of money.

Resistance to cheap anti-malarial drugs is growing in sub-Saharan Africa and as a result more and more children are dying from the disease.

The biggest problem with treating the condition is that there is only a handful of effective yet cheap drugs available.

Once the malaria parasite becomes resistant to chloroquine - the first-line treatment - then doctors have only one other drug to treat the disease.

Promising results

The team of researchers from the Medical Research Council Laboratories in Gambia treated 600 children with malaria.

They used the one commonly-used drug - pyrimethamine-sulphadoxine - and a newer medication called artesunate.

Following just one day of treatment more than half of the children given two drugs were free from infection - considerably more than those given only the original drug.

Symptoms of the disease also diminished much quicker in children who had received the combination treatment.

The researchers also believe that the low number of parasites in the blood after the combined treatment could lower the chance of drug resistant strains emerging - meaning the cheaper drugs would be effective for longer.

The World Health Organisation is currently running 12 trials throughout Africa to see how effective this new combination treatment is in the fight against malaria.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
Africa Contents

Country profiles

See also:
03 Nov 99 |  Health
WHO drive to combat malaria
02 Nov 99 |  Sci/Tech
Researchers map malaria parasite
08 Sep 99 |  Health
Specialists declare war on malaria
03 Sep 99 |  Health
Drug to combat growing malaria menace
10 Sep 99 |  Health
Irrigation 'increases malaria rates'
26 Jul 99 |  Medical notes
Malaria: The facts

Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites
Links to other Africa stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Africa stories