Ghana's Food and Drug Board has approved a new drug for the treatment of complicated malaria, or malaria that affects the brain, Onka Asthana, deputy director of the India-based Central Drug Research Institute, said recently, the GNA/ModernGhana.com reports.
Asthana said the drug -- called Alpha-Beta Arteether, or the Emal injection -- recently has been shown to be effective in the treatment of the disease in India. He said that clinical trials of the drug found that treatment success rates for uncomplicated malaria were between 93% and 100% and that treatment success rates for complicated cases were between 91% and 100%.
Between 4% and 8.5% of complicated malaria cases resulted in death, Asthana said, adding that additional clinical trials and early treatment are needed to prevent similar outcomes in the future.
The drug was developed in India by Themis Medicare in 1999 and targets drug-resistant malaria, as well as recurring cases of the disease. The drug was created using traditional Chinese medicine and has to be administered for three days, Asthana said. Sumit Mitra of Themis said the Emal injection has been approved for use in Cambodia, Kenya, Nigeria and Zambia, as well as other African and Asian countries.
He said it is expected to be introduced in Ethiopia, Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda. In Ghana, the drug will be sold for 70,000 cedis, which is about $8, or less per dose, according to Gopal Vasu, director of Ghana-based M&G Pharmaceuticals.