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Scientists discover that old drug is effective in preventing malaria

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: (Published 09 October 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:942
  1. David Spurgeon
  1. Quebec

    One of a class of antimalarial drugs dating from the second world war and abandoned because they were too toxic or too easily broken down in the body has been shown to be capable of preventing the disease.

    A group of researchers from Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, led by clinical pharmacologist Theresa Shapiro, reports in the current issue of the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene that atovaquone was 100% effective in keeping volunteers bitten by mosquitoes carrying Plasmodium falciparum from developing malaria.

    Other published research suggests that pairing atovaquone with proguanil, an older antimalarial, “should greatly raise our chances of … avoiding the drug resistance …

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