Journal Mobile

AR Butler, S Khan, E Ferguson
Journal Issue: 
Volume 40: Issue 2: 2010




Malaria  is  one  of  the  worst  sicknesses  to  affect  humankind.  For centuries there was no specific treatment, and it was not until the seventeenth century  that  Spanish  colonisers  brought  back  from  Peru  tree  bark  from  which quinine  was  later  extracted.  In  the  twentieth  century,  synthetic  alternatives  to quinine were developed. Of these, chloroquine was the most successful, but by the 1970s widespread resistance had developed and the world was left without an  effective  treatment  for  malaria.  During  the  same  decade  Chinese  scientists extracted from sweet wormwood plant the drug artemisinin, which has proved to be very effective against chloroquine-resistant malarial parasites. The use of a combination  therapy  including  artemisinin  has  made  it  possible  to  contemplate the eradication of malaria. Efforts to produce a stable and inexpensive supply of artemisinin are under way.