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Synthetic Artemisinin Discovery Could Make Malaria Treatments More Affordable, Accessible

“Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, and the biotech start-up Amyris [have] developed a process to manufacture artemisinin, a crucial ingredient in first-line malaria drugs that until now had to be extracted from a natural crop called sweet wormwood,” PBS NewsHour reports. “The new semi-synthetic artemisinin … successfully entered the production phase through a public-private partnership with the drug company Sanofi-Aventis earlier this year” and “will hit the market beginning in 2012,” according to NewsHour. Olusoji Adeyi, who runs the affordable malaria medication program at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, said the new formulation of artemisinin will help make better quality malaria treatments more affordable and increase access, NewsHour reports (Miller, 10/31).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.