This release is available in German.
The most effective anti-malaria drug can now be produced inexpensively and in large quantities. This means that it will be possible to provide medication for the 225 million malaria patients in developing countries at an affordable price. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam and the Freie Universitt Berlin have developed a very simple process for the synthesis of artemisinin, the active ingredient that pharmaceutical companies could only obtain from plants up to now. The chemists use a waste product from current artemisinin production as their starting substance. This substance can also be produced biotechnologically in yeast, which the scientists convert into the active ingredient using a simple yet very ingenious method.
There is an effective treatment against malaria, but it is not accessible to all of the more than 200 million people worldwide who are affected by the disease. Millions, especially in the developing world, cannot afford the combination drug preparation, which consists mainly of artemisinin. Moreover, the price for the medication varies, as this substance is isolated from sweet wormwood (Artemisia annua) which grows mainly in China and Vietnam, and varies seasonally in its availability. To make the drug affordable for at least some patients in developing countries, the Clinton Foundation, for example, subsidises its cost to the tune of several million dollars per year. Nevertheless, over one million people die of malaria each year because they do not have access to effective drugs.
This may be about to change. Peter H. Seeberger, Director at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam and Professor of Chemistry at the Freie Universitt Berlin and his colleague Franois Lvesque have discovered a very simple way of synthe
|Contact: Dr. Peter Seeberger|