A team of medical doctors and traditional healers in the Eastern part of the DR Congo just completed the first part of clinical trials studying the efficacy of Artemisia annua against gametocytes. The trials were following a protocol based on the procedures recommended by WHO and are coordinated with a team of medical doctors from France.
The results obtained on the first set of 25 malaria infected patients are very encouraging. After 12 days of treatment Plasmodium trophozoites have completely disappeared in blood smears. This is no major surprise : it confirms the results obtained previously by IFBV-BELHERB and several African partners in at least 10 trials in different countries : an efficacy of > 95%.
The objective of these recent trials was to study the impact on gametocytes. The surprise is huge : the average gametocytemia for the 25 patients decreases to 16.1 % on day 12 down from its average original value of 100% on day 0.
Further trials are in progress not only with Artemisia annua but also with Artemisia afra, a plant used in at least 10 African countries against malaria and readily available because growing wild. If the results are confirmed this is a breakthrough. A tremendous hope for Africa to break the transmission chain from man to mosquito. There is no other pharmaceutical drug really efficient against gametocytes without side effects.
The same medical team has started clinical trials with Artemisia against Schistosomiasis and Buruli ulcer, two neglected diseases
The Artemisia annua plant used in these trials has been extensively analyzed by several laboratories in Europe and Africa for minerals, essential oils, polyphenols, scopoletine, artemisinine. It is of the genotype poor in artemisinin and rich in artemisia ketone. Its non-toxicity is well known in the scientific literature and was confirmed by trials in Cameroon. This plant grown in Luxembourg by Co-Labor is registered as medicinal plant by the Luxembourg authorities and its constant quality is checked in conformity with ISO 17 205. Details on the analytical results and procedures applied are available on request.
Lets hope that these results will encourage other African medical doctors to run similar clinical trials and to end with the neo-colonial dependence an antimalarial drugs and gadgets imported from Europe.
Jerome Munyangi, Lucile Cornet-Vernet, Pierre Lutgen