Malaria Medicine for Children

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Today, Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) and Novartis announced that Coartem Dispersible is now available. Coartem Dispersible is a new child friendly antimalarial medicine. It was designed especially for children.

It has always been difficult to get babies and children to take the bitter malaria medicines. Medicines for malaria are largely designed for adults. The pills are often bitter and too big for children to swallow.

This new medicine is a small tablet that cherry-flavored and dissolves easily. This new pill is based on an existing Novartis malaria treatment called Coartem. Coartem was designed for adults and has often been crushed to better suit children. The drug uses artemisinin, a compound derived from a wormwood plant.

The children's version required four years and millions of dollars to develop. MMV receives funding support for this project and the largest malaria R&D pipeline in history from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Irish Aid, Netherlands Minister Development Co-Operation, Rockefeller Foundation, Spanish Government, Swiss Government, UK DFID, USAID, US National Institute of Health, Wellcome Trust, WHO/RBM and World Bank and the ExxonMobil Foundation.

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Children account for most of the more than one million people killed each year by the mosquito-borne disease, malaria experts say. Africa bears the overwhelming burden of malaria.

The new pill is a great step forward, but it still needs to be distributed. Efficient channels are rare.

For more information on malaria go here (CDC website).

Sources

Medicines for Malaria Venture
Novartis
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