Severe malaria, a life threatening condition, may ensue rapidly if a bout of uncomplicated malaria is not promptly treated. Since 2011, based on the results of the landmark studies AQUAMAT and SEAQUAMAT, which demonstrated the superiority of injectable artesunate (Inj AS) over intravenous quinine for the treatment of severe malaria in African and Asian patients respectively, WHO guidelines have recommended Inj AS as the preferred medicine for treating this life-threatening condition. In April 2011 Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) released a policy paper advocating the immediate switch from using injectable quinine to using Inj As for the treatment of severe malaria, based on the life-saving benefits, safety and convenience.
MMV collaborated with Guilin Pharma, a Fosun Pharma company, to help the manufacturer achieve WHO prequalification for its Inj AS formulation, Artesun®, in November 2010. This approval represented a critical turning point, making it possible for the first time for donor funds to support procurement of Inj AS as WHO’s preferred treatment for severe malaria. In December 2018 a second Inj AS product, Larinate 60, manufactured by Ipca received WHO prequalification. This latest achievement also benefited from a collaboration between MMV and Ipca which helps to ensure a healthier marketplace for this lifesaving drug.