Injectable artesunate for the treatment of severe malaria

Severe malaria is a life-threatening condition. It may ensue rapidly if a bout of acute uncomplicated malaria is not promptly treated. WHO recommends Injectable artesunate (Inj AS) as the first choice for the treatment of this lethal disease.  

first-line treatment for severe malaria  

In 2010, the landmark studies AQUAMAT and SEAQUAMAT demonstrated the superiority of Inj AS over intravenous quinine for the treatment of severe malaria in African and South-East Asian patients respectively. Since then, WHO guidelines have recommended Inj AS as the preferred medicine for treating this life-threatening condition.  

WHO’s approval represented a critical turning point. For the first time, donor funds could support procurement of Inj AS as WHO’s preferred treatment for severe malaria. 

In April 2011,Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) released a policy paper advocating the immediate switch from injectable quinine to Inj Afor the treatment of severe malaria. This decision was based on the life-saving benefits, safety, and convenience of Inj AS. 

Given that Inj AS reduces mortality by an extra 26% over the alternative, IV quinine, using this medicine saved an estimated >1,000,000 additional lives from 2011 to 2019. MMV is proud to have contributed to this success. 

Commercializing injectable artesunate 

As early as 2009, MMV collaborated with Guilin Pharma, to help the manufacturer achieve WHO prequalification for its Inj AS formulation, Artesun®. 

In December 2018 a second Inj AS product, Larinate 60®, manufactured by Ipca received WHO prequalification thanks to MMV’s support.  

MMV is encouraging additional manufacturers of Inj AS to seek WHO prequalification. The objective is to create greater stability for the supply chain of Inj AS.  

Discover MMV’s work to improve access to Injectable Artesunate in severe malaria cases 

  • Past and current partners:

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); CHAI; IPCA Laboratories; École de Santé Publique University of Kinshasa; Guilin Pharma, a Fosun Pharma company; Kenya National Malaria Control Program; Malaria Consortium; Malaria No More; MSF; National Malaria Control Programme Ghana; Nigeria National Malaria Control Programme; Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute; The Global Fund to Fight AIDS Tuberculosis and Malaria; UNICEF; Unitaid; University of Oxford, WHO GMP. 



    Updated February 2021