Treatment of malaria: from drug discovery to optimisation of current therapies.

 

Almost 40% of the world’s population live in malaria endemic areas, with each year about a quarter of a billion people experiencing clinical malaria and an estimated 655,000 deaths. With no vaccine currently available, artemisinin-based combination therapies are the first-line defence against malaria. These therapies have been highly effective worldwide until recent reports from Western Cambodia have found potential emerging resistance to artesunate, the most widely used artemisinin derivative. In this context, it is critical that the recommended dosing regimens of artemisinin-based combination therapies are carefully assessed and optimised, and that new antimalarial treatments are being developed. In this presentation, we will provide an overview of the current antimalarial therapies available including details of population pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic projects investigating dosing schemes in the most vulnerable malaria populations, children and pregnant women. Findings and an update on the discovery of new antimalarial drugs, where funding has relied heavily on not-for-profit organisations, will also be presented. 

Carl Kirkpatrick