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Chinese team hunts down malaria in Comoros

Updated: Apr 25, 2018 Xinhua Print
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In an interview with Xinhua, He, the Chinese ambassador to Comoros, hailed the anti-malaria project for demonstrating China's medical innovation and its robust cooperation with Africa.

"This project is a good demonstration of the China-Africa friendship, partnership and brotherhood, as well as of China's African policy of sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith," He said.

The main weapon used in the project is a Chinese-developed drug called Artequick, a new artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) that combines artemisinin, piperaquine and a small dose of primaquine.

Its main ingredient artemisinin, now at the front of the world's battle with malaria, was discovered by renowned Chinese scientist Tu Youyou, 2015 Medicine Nobel Prize winner, from sweet wormwood, a herb mostly grown in China.

"Artemisinin has a swift effect against malaria parasites, while piperaquine has a longer-lasting effect," said Deng Changsheng, a researcher at GZUCM and member of the anti-malaria team. "The combination also makes it less likely to build drug resistance."

Li Guoqiao, who led a team to administer the Moheli project, explained that by mass administering that drug in a limited period of time, the real source of the disease will be addressed.

"The MDA strategy is like a running match with mosquitoes' life circle. It requires residents to take medicines twice in two months, a period when new mosquitoes will not get parasites; It is also a period that old, infected ones cannot outlive," said the GZUCM professor.

Song said the strategy suits the island nation's conditions, including its small population and limited mobility of people. Such innovations are also needed in African nations where traditional methods of killing mosquitoes and distributing mosquito nets failed to work, he said.

"There is no fixed solution for malaria, and Comoros is just a good example of that. It tells us that seeing to the local conditions is very important," Song said.

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