An Indian Malaria drug

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Ranbaxy Laboratories has launched a new drug, Synriam, for the treatment of uncomplicated falciparum malaria. Clinical trials in India, Tanzania, and Thailand have suggested that the drug yields a cure rate of over 95 per cent. The drug would be made available in India at Rs 130 for three tablets, and treatment would involve taking a single tablet for three days

The drug is a combination of two molecules – arterolane and piperaquine, an antimalarial. Arterolane is a short-acting antimalarial molecule and piperaquine is a long-acting molecule. Salt structure of arterolane was changed a tosylate salt to a maleate salt, increasing its solubility. Early treatment reduces the risk of complicated malaria. In India, 1000 people die from malaria each year. Indian Council of Medical Research is assessing a revised estimate of about 35,000 deaths per year made by a panel of experts set up by the health ministry

The standard therapy for uncomplicated falciparum malaria involves artemisinin-based drugs which are substances derived from plants whose availability hinges on crop output. However, arterolane production can be scaled up whenever required because of its synthetic origin.