Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Malaria drugs don’t cause kidney damage, say pharmacists

• New vaccine passes first human trials test

The social media was dominated last week by reports that some anti-malarial drugs, Artemisinin-based Combination Therapies (ACTs) cause kidney damage. There was even a list of such medicines that allegedly caused kidney damage.

But the President of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Ahmed Ibrahim Yakasai, told journalists yesterday that: “The list of anti-malarial medicines circulated on social media by Itodje Okiemute Godstime on March 21, 2017 at www.gt9ja.com are oral mono therapies which are not the recommended medicines for treatment of uncomplicated malaria in Nigeria.

“The claim of Itodje Okiemute Godstime in respect of poisoning and kidney failure have no clinical or scientific backing. My colleagues looked at the write-up deeply and clearly you will see that he is talking of mono therapies, and Nigeria has already passed that level.”

Yakasai said the recommended combination medicines for malaria in Nigeria are Artesunate+Amodiaquine (AA), Artemether+Lumefantrinr (AL) and Sulphadoxine Pyrimethamine (SP), which are also the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended combinations.

Meanwhile, a new malaria vaccine developed by Australian scientists has passed its first test in early human trials.The vaccine called PlasProtecT, developed by researchers at Queensland’s Griffith University, Australia, consists of inactivated human malaria parasites, which have been prevented from growing and causing malaria infection.

The vaccine works by stimulating a natural immune response, which can protect a person for years against the mosquito-borne disease.Lead researcher Michael Good, an immunologist with Griffith’s Institute for Glycomics was the first person to be immunised.

It was later tested on 11 other persons and proven to be safe and effective.“This is a world first. We are the first to put a vaccine like this into humans that has potential to protect against multiple strains and species of malaria,” Gold Coast Health Director of Infectious Diseases, Dr. John Gerrard said.

Also, a toxicological evaluation of some Artemisinin Combination Therapies (ACTs) on the kidney and liver of Albino Wistar Rats by researchers from University of Uyo, remarked: “It can be concluded from this study that ACT therapies can have deleterious effect on the kidney and liver.

“Furthermore, dihydroartemisinin-piperaquin has the best safety profile among the ACTs studied while artemether-lumefantrin and artesunate-mefloquin are more likely to induce significant toxicological effects.”

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