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WRAIR investigators pioneering work on an exciting new class of antimalarial compounds
Date:3/26/2008

egan in China in the 1970s with the first purified crystalline artemisinins produced in Shandon Province in 1972.

Although lead author Dr. Qigui Li received his MD and pharmacology degrees in China in the early 1980s, he did not become aware of artemisinins until the late 1980s, while a Post-doctoral Fellow at the Free University of Berlin, Germany. Dr. Li stated that the Chinese had first published their findings in the Chinese Medical Journal in 1979, but when the WHO approached Chinese scientists for samples of the plant so they could conduct their own assays they were rebuffed. In retrospect, we can appreciate that this was just after the Nixon era, Mao Tse-tung was still in power, and the Chinese were very skeptical about sharing information for fear it would be utilized by the commercial pharmaceutical companies in the West for monetary gain. Since joining the WRAIR team in 1991, Dr. Li has performed or supervised the majority of the pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics on all of the artemisinin derivatives.

In December of 2005, the World Health Organization stated, for the first time, artemisinins are the first line of therapy for most cases of malarial illnesses. Artemisinins are also being investigated as antiviral and anticancer agents.


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Contact: Mike Fiedler
michael.fiedler@amedd.army.mil
301-319-9626
Walter Reed Army Institute of Research
Source:Eurekalert  

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