Artemisinins – the Most Effective Malaria Treatment
Artemisinin is a chemical compound, extracted from the herb Artemisia annua (sweet wormwood) widely used in Chinese traditional medicine. Artemisinin and its derivatives possess the most rapid action compared to all existing drugs against P. falciparum malaria. The artemisinin-combination therapies are the standard treatment worldwide for malaria, and ensuring easier access to them, particularly in malaria-endemic countries, has been an integral part of the significant recent progress in reducing the global malaria expansion.
According to evidence by the World Health Organization, only in 2012, 331 million artemisinin-combination treatment courses were delivered to endemic countries – in contrast to the estimated 11 million in 2005. Although artemisinins are highly effective and rapid in killing the microorganism causing malaria, they must not be used alone, because this could lead to a high level of return of parasites.
Therefore, other drugs are also required to clear the body completely of all parasites and prevent an undesirable recurrence. In the medicines combinations, artemisinin kills the majority of parasites at the very beginning of the treatment, while the other, more slowly acting drug eliminates gradually the remaining live parasites.
In addition to malaria treatment, artemisinin is being studied and tested for cancer treatment. Recent evidence suggests that artemisinin has considerable anticancer effects against human hepatoma cells.
Evidence has also shown the artemisinin-derivative dihydromyricetin attacks human metastatic melanoma (skin cancer) cells. According to discovery in
There are now a number of artemisinin derivatives, including artesunate(water-soluble; for oral, rectal, intramuscular, or intravenous use), artemether(lipid-soluble; for oral, rectal, or intramuscular use), artemotil, and dihydroartemisinin,artelinic acid, and artemotil. A technology to create microbial strains, genetically altered yeasts, producing artemisinic acid, a precursor of artemisinin, has been recently developed and is being applied for the commercial production of the bioactive chemical. This second biochemical synthesis source of artemisinin (apart from the plant extraction) is expected to ensure a stable supply of the substantial anti-malarial treatment to the people in the desperate, life-saving need.
For more information, please visit https://www.stanfordchem.com/