Ugandan scientists have developed a drug from natural herbs that can cure malaria in about three days.
According to a study released by the scientists, the drug, DEI Anti-malaria, can kill malaria-causing parasites within the human body using its natural compounds extracted from plants.
The lead-investigator, Dr Patrick Ogwang, a pharmacist and lecturer at Mbarara University of Science and Technology, said laboratory tests have proved that the drug is safe and efficacious.
“Parasites were got from malaria patients in Mulago Hospital and subjected to the drug in the laboratory. They were all killed by the compounds of the drug,” Dr Ogwang said.
“It was also tested on mice and killed all the parasites without being toxic to body organs like the liver, kidney and bone marrow,” he added.
Dr Ogwang said that despite modern medicines contributing greatly to the containment of malaria, they are greatly limited by high cost and vulnerability to parasites resistance thus the need for an African solution.
He said the natural traditional medicinal formula has been in use for more than 40 years, treating all forms of malaria, including plasmoduim falciparum resistant variant.
Findings from the laboratory tests have been submitted to the National Drug Authority and have been assigned a notification number THA218. The prototype of the drug is packaged in terms of capsules for adults and a powdered substance to be taken by children as syrup.
Mr Matthias Magoola, the managing director of DEI Group of Companies, who owns the drug formula, said the drug will help tame malaria which is responsible for about 50 per cent of illness on the African continent.
Speaking at the launch of the study findings in Kampala on Tuesday, Dr Elioda Tumwesigye, the Minister of Science and Innovation, said he will support the scientists to acquire patents and develop the herbal drug further.
“The drug still needs to go through all stages of drug development before it is approved for mass production and use,” Dr Tumwesigye said.
Ms Florence Nakacwa, the head of drug assessment at NDA, said they are yet to approve the drug.
She added that if a drug is to be approved, it must meet the labeling requirements, all clinical trials and the production factory must be inspected and accredited by NDA.
“Parasites were got from malaria patients in Mulago Hospital and subjected to the drug in the laboratory. They were all killed by the compounds of the drug,”