The World Health Organization (WHO) granted prequalification status Thursday to Coartem 80/480 mg, a malaria treatment created by Novartis, giving better access to patients.
Coartem is the first fixed-dose, high strength artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) antimalarial treatment and also the first child-friendly ACT that is available to donor-funded public sectors, making it more accessible to approximately 25 million Africans with malaria.
The new treatment serves to decrease patients’ pill burdens, which could help them be more dedicated to treatment and, in turn, improve clinical outcomes for researchers. The stronger dosage could improve the management of malaria.
"Over the last 10 years, Novartis has worked with partners to make Coartem treatments available to patients in the public sector and through donor-funded private sector programs," Novartis CEO Joseph Jimenez said. "WHO prequalification of Coartem 80/480 mg aligns with the longstanding work of the Novartis Malaria Initiative and confirms the company's status as a leading innovator in malaria treatment."
Novartis' initiative has delivered more than 700 million treatments without profit, mostly to the public sector, in the past decade.
"We welcome the arrival of high-strength Coartem 80/480 mg,” Roll Back Malaria Partnership Executive Director Nafo Traore said. "By reducing the number of pills that adults have to take, we hope to see better adherence to treatment regimens, helping us to combat this preventable and treatable disease which still kills hundreds of thousands of people."