New drug approved for malaria treatment

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a new drug aimed at a particular type of malaria that accounts for about 8.5 million infections per year—roughly 15-20% of all malaria cases around the world.

The new drug, Krintafel (tafenoquine), prevents relapse of malaria caused by Plasmodium vivax (P. vivax), one of several parasites that causes the disease. Currently, patients with P. vivax require a 10-day treatment and many don’t complete the regimen, leading to malaria recurrence. Kinfatel, a single-dose medication, aims to address that problem.

In a July 23, 2018 ABC News article, Regina Rabinovich, ExxonMobil Malaria Scholar in Residence at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and president of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, said the new drug addresses “a part of the burden of malaria often neglected by the global agenda. P. vivax used to be thought of as benign, but it is not benign.”

She added that global malaria eradication efforts require a multifaceted approach. “There is no silver bullet in malaria,” she said.

Read the ABC News article: FDA approves new drug for treatment of malaria

Learn more

New drugs, tools, innovations needed to rid world of malaria (Harvard Chan School news)

Multifaceted approach key to eradicating malaria (Harvard Chan School feature)