Kenyan pharmaceutical company, Universal Corporation Limited, will be the first manufacturer in Africa to receive approval from the World Health Organization to produce a life-saving malaria drug, The Guardian reported.
The antimalarial drug sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine plus amodiaquine (Spaq) is often used to prevent seasonal malaria in children during months of peak transmission periods such as the rainy seasons.
Previously, demand for drugs like Spaq in Africa was met by importing generic versions of the drug from India and China.
“This WHO pre-qualification is an important step towards reducing over-reliance on imported medicines and enhancing Africa’s self-sufficiency in providing essential healthcare solutions,” said Pervez Dhanani, Managing Director, Universal Corporation Limited.
The report revealed that more than 70% of the medicines used in Africa are imported, and only six out of hundreds of pharmaceutical companies in Africa are “pre-qualified” by the World Health Organization.
Some of the barriers to producing high-quality medicines locally include high operating costs, insufficient technical expertise, lack of investment in the pharmaceutical industry, and drug regulation and quality issues.
It is estimated that falsified or substandard antimalarials cause up to 116,000 deaths in sub-Saharan Africa every year.
WHO approval, which indicates that a company’s manufacturing and quality control processes meet international standards, could make it easier for pharmaceutical companies to enter new markets and attract larger buyers for these treatments.
The malaria research group, the Malaria Medicines Project (MMV), said local production and equitable distribution of medicines will accelerate efforts to eradicate malaria.
While the number of people infected with malaria in Africa has declined steadily over the past two decades, funding for the disease has plateaued in recent years amid donor fatigue, raising concerns among health experts that progress may be reversing.
“Cost-effective medicines like Spaq are nothing less than a lifeline in the battle against malaria,” said Dr. Andre-Marie Choateau, Director of Access and Product Management at MMV. “Affordability not only increases accessibility, but also promotes self-sufficiency.” “In the fight against malaria, reducing our dependence on foreign aid. This in turn enables us to strategically allocate resources to strengthen our comprehensive approach to combating this devastating disease.”
Children under five account for nearly 80% of malaria deaths in Africa, and malaria organizations say preventive treatments like Spaq provided effective protection to more than 48 million children last year, in more than a dozen countries in Africa’s Sahel region.
Even as malaria vaccines such as RTS and S/AS01 are gradually rolled out across the continent, access remains limited and relies heavily on antimalarial drugs.
Malaria experts stressed the need for a “medicine closer to the market” in Africa, where more than 95% of malaria cases and deaths occur globally.
Breast implants save a man’s life in a strange emergency procedure!
A 34-year-old patient had his lungs infected by a strain of drug-resistant bacteria, prompting doctors in Chicago to perform a strange procedure.
While medical professionals had a device that could take over the function of the lungs for a few days while the body removed any remaining infection, there was no conventional way to fill the huge void that removing it from a patient’s chest would create.
Fortunately for patient David Bauer, his surgeons came up with a perfect solution: a pair of DD breast implants in place of his lungs.
“We had to come up with a strategy to do something we’d never done before,” chief thoracic surgeon Ankit Bharat told CNN’s Jane Christensen.
Bauer has been a heavy daily smoker since his early twenties, and replaced tobacco with vaping in 2014, believing like many others it was a healthier alternative. When he came down with the flu in April this year, his lungs were in no condition to cope, quickly giving way to a secondary infection that no antibiotic seemed able to clear.
Due to severe shortness of breath, Bauer went to St. Louis Hospital, where the seriousness of his condition was quickly realized. He was put on ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) to take over the lungs’ task of balancing blood gases, but it was clear that this was not enough.
“David’s lungs were so badly infected that they started liquefying,” said Rade Tomic, a pulmonologist at Northwestern Medicine. “If you look at his X-rays, there was nothing left — the lungs were completely filled with pus. He needed to clear out the infection before A transplant, but the only way to do that is to remove both lungs.”
Internal anatomy resembles a well-filled bag, with each organ physically supporting the locations of the other organs. Some body systems may handle the extra space, while others – such as the cardiovascular system – rely on ambient pressure to perform their functions.
With no precedent in the field of artificial lungs, the medical team was forced to think outside the chest. They needed something flexible, sterile, and made of a material that was unlikely to interact with the body’s immune system.
As it happened, breast implants seemed to tick all the boxes.
On May 28, Bauer’s temporary breast implants were removed and a new, healthy set of lungs were placed in their place. After several months of rehabilitation treatment and recovery, Bauer regained his healthy life again.