China’s War On Malaria: A Tiny Nation Pushed Into A Test-Tube
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Artepharm, a Cantonese medical drugs laboratory, has been engaged for the past few years in a remarkable venture against malaria, a health scourge that has long plagued humanity and has been responsible for every second human death since the Middle Ages.
Having developed a treatment partially based on a molecule with a Chinese origin, Artemisinin, Artepharm has been administrating it freely and systematically to the whole population of the Comoros, which is a small archipelago inhabited by 700.000 souls in the Indian Ocean West of Madagascar.
Backed by the local Comoros government, the drug firm began distributing Artemisinin to the 36.000 inhabitants of Moheli, one of the smaller islands in the archipelago. At the end of the campaign, after a few months, the result was dramatic: infection rates that had been as high as 90% in some villages were reduced by 95%. Artepharm then began enlarging the program to the whole population of Comoros. By November of 2014, the company could claim, according to Prof. Li Guoqiao, of Guangzhou University, one of this project’s fathers, that the disease had been eradicated in Comoros.
This was a first in human history. It was also highly controversial news, as China, a total newcomer in the field of global public health, had appeared to have done something that Western medical had been trying, without success, to accomplish for ages.
- Health Care