A research team of the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in Ranchi has developed a single dose anti-malarial drug which is showing positive results during clinical trials and may hit the market by 2017, research head Arun Kumar Sharma said on Saturday.
The drug will be an answer to multi-dose chloroquine and artesunate plus sulfadoxine pyrimethamine (ASP) resistant malaria virus plasmodium vivax (Pf), RIMS officials said.
Malaria remains a major killer in India. It took 562 lives and affected more than 11 lakh people, of which 7.2 lakh were Pf cases in across India in 2014, according to the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) figures.
Sharma said that the human trials of the drug would be completed this year. The recent trials have shown positive results, he said. Sharma refused to divulge the details of the drug or its name till its approval. “We expect the drug to be ready by 2017-end,”he said.
The work on the drug started under a centre and state funded project in 2012 with the National Institute of Malaria Research (NIMR) entrusting the RIMS with heading a 10-member research team and the drug trials.
Pharmaceutical major Biocon Limited has been tasked with developing the drug. The research is simultaneously being carried out in Jharkhand and Karanata. The new pill will be introduced through the national malaria eradication programme and open markets across the country, officials said. NIMR officials said that the cases of resistance towards chloroquine have grown in India since the first case of resistance was reported in 1978.
Deputy director NIMR Anup Kumar said, “The drug was proposed for Jharkhand. However, once ready it can be introduced in other states.”
In Jharkhand, malaria is reported from 18 of 24 districts and affects more than a lakh people annually. This year alone, 25 outbreaks have been reported with 69847 cases, 34186 Pf cases and three deaths, according to NVBDCP figures.