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Antimalarial drug: How, when, what & why? 

How?

Antimalarial medications are just an antiparasitic chemical agent, often naturally derived, that can be used to treat or to prevent malaria. This drug is most often aiming at two susceptible target groups, young children and pregnant women.

In 2018, modern treatments, including for severe malaria, continued to depend on therapies deriving historically from quinine and artesunate, both parenteral (injectable) drugs, expanding from there into the many classes of available modern drugs. With the incidence and distribution of the disease (“malaria burden”) is expected to remain high, globally, for many years to come. Moreover, known antimalarial drugs have repeatedly been observed to elicit resistance in the malaria parasite—including for combination therapies featuring artemisinin, a drug of last resort.

Antimalarial agents and new strategies of treatment are needed in high priority in a mostly tropical area, hence why it is known as tropical medicine. Though the outcome of the treatment is positive the side effects remain very serious and can impact some individuals taking standard doses. (e.g., retinopathy with chloroquine, acute haemolytic anaemia with tafenoquine).

 

When?

This unproven ante “corona drug” stands in high demand by many countries. The spokesperson from the ministry of external affairs, Anurag Srivastava said, “ In view of the humanitarian aspects of the pandemic, it has been decided that India would license paracetamol and HCQ(Hydroxychloroquine) in appropriate quantities to all our neighbouring countries who are dependent on our capabilities of research and development.

“We will also be supplying the essential drugs to some nations who have been particularly badly affected by the pandemic.”

 

What?

It majorly boosted the global demand for hydroxychloroquine were the results of a small placebo-controlled clinical trial in China that demonstrated the anti-malarial drug shortened the duration and reduced the severity of cough, fever and pneumonia in patients with mild and moderate disease.

Hydroxychloroquine also prevented the illness from worsening in patients given the drug, compared to the placebo group, said the study, which was published on medRxiv, which publishes studies before peer-review to expedite access to new research.

A placebo-controlled trial is done with two groups of patients, one of which is given a placebo with no drug action, while the drug is tested on another group. This method rules out bias in the outcome and ensures the drug’s effects are actually caused by the treatment and not external factors.

 

Why?

A cheap, safe and widely available drug that has been used to treat malaria for at least a century has emerged as the most sought-after medicine in the world after preliminary trials from China said it boosted recovery and lowered the severity of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), which has sickened 1.2 million and killed 65,000 around the world within four months.

India on Saturday completely banned the export of hydroxychloroquine, of which it is the world’s biggest producer, even as President Donald Trump urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to send the medicine to the United States, which has reported at least 300,000 cases and close to 8,500 deaths.

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