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Maternal malaria researcher wins prestigious international prize
Date:6/11/2008

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"The antenatal screenings were very time intensive, but the system worked beautifully," says Professor Nosten. "The number of pregnant women dying from malaria fell from one death per hundred live births to zero."

The success of their approach enabled the team to focus on the prevention and treatment of malaria in pregnant women, and area where very few studies had previously been conducted. Professor Nosten and colleagues have undertaken most of the clinical trials looking at the best treatment options, including looking at how antimalarials are absorbed and metabolised by the body. This allowed them that pregnancy alters the efficacy of antimalarials and that the doses of medicines given to pregnant women were too low and therefore less efficacious.

Their work has led to a revision of guidelines produced by the World Health Organisation (WHO), which now recommend treating women in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy with artemisinin combination therapies. They have also provided almost all the available clinical evidence on the safety of treating pregnant women with artemisinin therapies, including the largest series on exposure during the first trimester.

Professor White says: " Franois and his team work in very difficult circumstances, yet they have produced some of the most important research on the treatment of malaria, which has led to a global change in treatment recommendations. They have conducted pivotal work on the epidemiology, pathophysiology and treatment of malaria in pregnancy, and changed the way it is treated."

"I would like to congratulate Franois on receiving well deserved recognition for his important achievements," say Dr Mark Walport, Director of the Wellcome Trust. "Malaria is one of the world's major killers and treating pregnant women has often proved complicated and potentially dangerous. Thanks to the work of Francois and his colleagues, however, the treatment options are now much
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Contact: Craig Brierley
c.brierley@wellcome.ac.uk
44-207-611-7329
Wellcome Trust
Source:Eurekalert

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