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Research and Development of Rectal Artesunate
Framework programme:
Project number:
EC contribution:
€ 1 104 602
36 months
Starting date:
1 July 2001

Keywords: Severe malaria; artesunate; suppository; emergency treatment


The project finalises the development of an antimalarial in suppository formulation for emergency treatment of life-threatening malaria. The intended beneficiary is a patient living in or travelling to a malaria endemic country. The drug is to be developed to provide therapeutic cover for patients with severe disease, who can no longer take drugs by mouth, and who cannot access injectable treatment, until they reach facilities where definitive therapy can be provided.


Survival from severe malaria depends upon speed of chemotherapy.  Patients with malaria who are not able to take fluids and medicines by mouth, and who do not have ready access to treatment by reason of the distance at which they live from a health facility, are at considerable risk of deteriorating and dying before getting to a clinic where effective treatment is available. This is how most lives are lost from acute Plasmodium falciparum infection, particularly amongst infants and children, and especially in the rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa, South East Asia and the Indian sub-continent. Therefore the development, registration and introduction of a therapy that substitutes for an injectable drug, allowing emergency treatment for patients unable to reach a hospital, has a realistic prospect of saving lives of infants, children and adults with malaria of a severity that is potentially life-threatening, and where at present no treatment  is available.

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