Researchers at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) have discovered a much more effective drug for preventing and managing malaria during pregnancy.
According to Kemri, trials conducted in parts of the country and in Uganda have proven that the new malaria drug, dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DP), is much more effective and safe to use in pregnancy compared to the currently used Fansidar.
“When DP was taken as an intermittent preventive treatment for malaria in pregnancy, it was well-tolerated and more effective than Fansidar in preventing malaria,” Kemri said.
The new malaria drug is reportedly safe in the second and third trimester of pregnancy.
IVERMECTIN: DRUG THAT KILLS MOSQUITOES CAN BE USED TO FIGHT MALARIA
Malaria has been a key focus for KEMRI since the programme began in 1989.
In March this year, Kemri announced the discovery of a new antimalarial drug that kill mosquitoes, as opposed to existing drugs that only target the parasite, to reduce the spread of malaria.
The results of the study, done by Researchers from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) working in partnership with colleagues from KEMRI, show that adding high doses of Ivermectin, an endectocide class of drug, to the antimalarial dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DP) had a major and prolonged effect on mosquito mortality,” KEMRI said in a statement.
The study was published in one of the world’s leading medical journals, The Lancet Infectious Diseases.
Malaria has for years been the leading cause of child mortality in Kenya until a few months ago when it was overtaken by pneumonia as revealed by the 2018 Economic survey by Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.
According to the survey, Pneumonia accounted for 22.0 per cent (21,584) of the major causes of deaths in 2017 followed by malaria (17,553) and cancer (16,953).