Dihydroartemisinin is a drug used to treat malaria. Dihydroartemisinin is the active metabolite of all artemisinin compounds (artemisinin, artesunate, artemether, etc.) and is also available as a drug in itself.
Evidence of resistance to the antimalarial drug artemisinin and its derivatives threatens efforts to control malaria in Southeast Asia, and experts fear artemisinin resistance may spread from the Thailand-Cambodia border to affect other malaria endemic countries. Evidence to such effect was presented today at the 58th annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH).
Current combination malaria therapies recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) provide adequate treatment for mild malaria, according to a Cochrane Systematic Review of the evidence. However, selected trials had high failure rates for some combinations and evidence for the effectiveness of anti-malarial therapies is lacking in some vulnerable groups.
The New England Journal of Medicine in its March 19 issue featured a letter to the editor written in response to a study published in its Dec. 11 issue reporting the results of the RTS,S/AS01E malaria vaccine trial.
The results of two new large scale trials show that the combination of dihydroartemisinin and piperaquine (DHA+PQP) not only is effective against uncomplicated malaria in a way which is comparable to other artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs), but it also protects patients against new infections for at least two months after treatment.