>90% of severe malaria cases now treated with injectable artesunate in preference to quinine

In 2011, WHO-recommended injectable artesunate (Inj AS) as first-line treatment for severe malaria, as it saves more lives than quinine.1,2 In anticipation of this policy change and to help improve access, MMV worked with Guilin Pharmaceutical to enable them in 2010 to become the first company to achieve WHO prequalification for their Inj AS product – Artesun®.

MMV then established a consortium with the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) and the Malaria Consortium (MC) to implement the MMV-led Improving Severe Malaria Outcomes (ISMO) project. The project was awarded UNITAID funding in 2013 to continue scale-up in six high-burden African countries (Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria and Uganda).

In September 2016, the project came to a successful close having achieved the following:

  • More than 90% of severe malaria cases across the six countries are now treated with Inj AS in preference to quinine;
  • More than 18,000 health-care workers across 2,082 facilities were trained to administer Inj AS.

Furthermore, since prequalification of Guilin’s Artesun in 2010, 75 million vials have been dispatched, saving an estimated 450,000 to 500,000 additional young lives compared to treatment with quinine.

In parallel with the ISMO project, to ensure a sustainable global supply of Inj AS, MMV supported Ipca Laboratories, India, to enable submission of its dossier to WHO for prequalification review in 2016.

Updated July 2017


1. Dondorp AM et al. “Artesunate versus quinine in the treatment of severe falciparum malaria in African children (AQUAMAT): an openlabel, randomised trial.” The Lancet. 376(9753):1647−57 (2010).

2. Dondorp A et al. “Artesunate versus quinine for treatment of severe falciparum malaria: a randomised trial.” The Lancet. 366(9487):717−25 (2005).