Combined attack

Fresh WHO guidelines for malaria

Published: Tuesday 28 February 2006

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended a combination therapy to ensure that Plasmodium falciparum, the malaria parasite, does not develop resistance against the drug artemisinin. This is the only drug effective against falciparum malaria at present. WHO's malaria department has also asked pharmaceutical companies to stop marketing single-drug tablets.

The guidelines have been welcomed by the public private partnership, Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative, that recently came out with two such combinations. But the international NGO, Medicins Sans Frontieres, suggests artemisinin monotherapies may still be needed by patients who cannot tolerate the other components of combination drugs. Indian manufacturers like Cipla say they would continue to produce the single drug.

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