China-based drugmaker Holley-Cotec's duo-cotecxin, an antimalarial medication, was recently launched in Kenya, where 8.2 million new cases of the disease are reported each year. The drug is an artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) indicated for all forms of the disease.
"Over the last few years, there has been a paradigm shift in Africa towards universal adoption of [ACT]," said Kirana Bhatt, senior lecturer in the department of medicine at the University of Nairobi. She noted that in much of sub-Saharan Africa, "[ACTs] have yet to be adopted due to various reasons, financial constraint being a major one."
Duo-cotecxin is an association of a third-generation artemisinin derivative, dihydroartemisinin, and a new compound of the quinoleine group, piperaquine. It has been shown to be effective against falciparum malaria, the most dangerous form of the disease, in which infected red blood cells form microinfarctions in capillaries in the brain, liver, adrenal gland, intestinal tract, kidneys, lungs, and other organs.