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German Scientists Develop Machine that Boosts Anti-Malaria Drug Production

By eHealthIQ
Reviewed: May 09, 2013

POTSDAM, Germany – A potentially major breakthrough in the worldwide fight against malaria is being developed in Germany. According to CBS news, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces have found a way to turn waste that’s generated during the production of artemisinin, an anti-malaria drug, into even more of the life-saving medicine. The apparatus that makes it possible is inexpensive. According to the post, if 400 of the machines could be made, a worldwide supply of artemisinin could be produced in a very short period of time. This would also reduce the cost of the drug, which is beyond the financial reach of most of the people who need it.According to the article, approximately 225 million people are affected by malaria each year. Of that total, around 665,000 of them die. The majority of those who perish from the parasitical disease are African children under the age of five. Millions of doses of ACTs or artemisinin combination therapies are donated to impoverished nations in Asia and Africa each year, but millions are still left without access to the drug. Scientists have been searching for a way to make the drug-producing process more efficient, and it appears that the Max Planck Institute has finally done so.Artemisinin is extracted from the sweet wormwood plant. Nearly 10 times as much of it goes to waste as is actually used in ACTs. The new apparatus takes about 40 percent of the waste that is produced and turns it into usable medicine. This breakthrough represents the first time in which a way has been found to reduce the amount of waste that is generated during the process. According to the CBS article, the machine costs about $132,000 to build. Considering how many lives it could save per year, that isn’t expensive at all.Source: CBS News



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