Over the past decade, there has been a transformation in the portfolio of medicines to combat malaria. New fixed-dose artemisinin combination therapy is available, with four different types having received approval from Stringent Regulatory Authorities or the World Health Organization (WHO). However, there is still scope for improvement. The Malaria Eradication Research agenda identified several gaps in the current portfolio. Simpler regimens, such as a single-dose cure are needed, compared with the current three-day treatment. In addition, new medicines that prevent transmission and also relapse are needed, but with better safety profiles than current medicines. There is also a big opportunity for new medicines to prevent reinfection and to provide chemoprotection. This study reviews the global portfolio of new medicines in development against malaria, as of the summer of 2012. Cell-based phenotypic screening, and 'fast followers' of clinically validated classes, mean that there are now many new classes of molecules starting in clinical development, especially for the blood stages of malaria. There remain significant gaps for medicines blocking transmission, preventing relapse, and long-duration molecules for chemoprotection. The nascent pipeline of new medicines is significantly stronger than five years ago. However, there are still risks ahead in clinical development and sustainable funding of clinical studies is vital if this early promise is going to be delivered.
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After service in the British SAS Regiment the author became a physician and then an orthopaedic surgeon.
He has held professorial positions in Canada, Vietnam and the United States, practiced and taught orthopaedic surgery in three continents and in several wars.
He has extensive experience as an expert witness in court. Somewhere along the way, time was found to operate a four hundred acre mixed farm, a one hundred seat restaurant and to obtain a licence as a flying instructor.
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