Project to jump-start efficacy of Artemisia Annua

Garners significant new funding following initial grant from MMV

22 Jun 2006

The Centre for Novel Agricultural Products (CNAP), part of the University of York, has received a $13.6 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to complete research on a plant that could help alleviate the global shortage of effective treatments for malaria - a disease that kills more than 1 million people every year, most of them children in Africa. The Centre, part of the Biology Department at York University, has been working on a fast-track breeding research programme for the plant Artemisia annua - currently the sole source of the leading anti-malarial drug, artemisinin.

The project, which received early financial support from the Garfield Weston Foundation, GlaxoSmithKline and the Medicines for Malaria Venture, plans to field-trial the new varieties of A. annua in areas of the developing world where malaria is endemic, and work with major manufacturers of ACTs to ensure that artemisinin extracted from the new cultivars conforms to pharmaceutical specifications.