Genetic Study of Anti-Malaria Drug Plant Could Lead to Increase in Supply

Scientists have shared that the worldwide supply of an important, plant-based, anti-malaria medicine is all set to be increased manifolds, thanks to a genetic study.

Researchers have been able to map the genes of Artemisia annua, in order to allow the selection of varieties which are high yielding. With the study, researchers are looking to make growing the plant more beneficial and profitable for farmers.

"It's a major milestone for the development of this crop", said study leader Professor Ian Graham from the University of York.

With the new study, the problem of the plant's short-supply can effectively be solved. The findings have been welcomed by Dr Chris Drakeley, Director of the Malaria Centre at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

"Anything that enables an increased yield of product from something like Artemisia annua is a major step. This is the first line anti-malarial in nearly all endemic countries at the moment and supplies can be limited", he said.

The study has been a 3 year long effort, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The genetic maps and markers developed y the scientists will be offered all over the world without any charges attached.