WHO prequalifies Novartis' Coartem for malaria
- The newest formulation of Coartem is the first and only high strength artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) antimalarial treatment available for large-scale public use.
- The new WHO-prequalified formulation of Coartem combines 80 mg of artemether and 480 mg of lumefantrine.
- The original formulation of Coartem was 20 mg of artemether and 120 mg of lumefantrine.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 3.2 billion people in the world are at risk of malaria infection. And despite the fact that malaria is both preventable and treatable, in 2013, 584,000 people---mainly children under age five in Africa---died from malaria. Like other types of infectious diseases, successful treatment of malaria requires patient compliance; however, traditionally, the pill burden associated with treatment with Coartem has been very high---a total of 24 pills. Now, with the new 6-pill regimen, patients take two pills a day for three days.
Novartis has the distinction of being the first company to create a fixed-dose antimalarial ACT, and now the first company to create a WHO-qualified, high-dose combination ACT. Based on this new WHO pre-qualification status, Coartem (80/480) will now be made available to as many as 250 million people throughout Africa.