HOME ABOUT US RESEARCH INTO PRACTICE OUTREACH
© Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-Liz Gilbert
The CNAP Artemisia Research Project is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop and deliver new varieties of the medicinal plant Artemisia Annua.
Over the past seven years, our research programme has been wide ranging and yet focussed on reaching the target of sustainable quantities of high yielding A. annua F1 hybrid seed. Research activities have ranged from fundamental plant biology, hybrid development and extensive field trials to seed production research.
From June 2012, the programme has been scaled back due to the successful transfer of our technologies to our commercialisation partner,East-West Seed International. However, we are continuing to support East-West Seed with underpinning research and development to ensure a sustainable delivery of new hybrids to market.
In 2013, seed was sold to African companies for the first time since the project commenced; in fact seed sales are sufficient to yield enough artemisinin to produce 70-120 million ACT treatments.
The project and partnership has wide ranging benefits and is a good example of CNAP’s research under the Biology to Benefit Society ethos.
Artemisia annua and artemisinin
The World Health Organisation recommends artemisinin combination therapies (ACTs) for treating uncomplicated malaria caused by the parasite Plasmodium falciparum. The medicinal plant A. annua is currently the main source of artemisinin.
Although new approaches to artemisinin production are being developed such as semi-synthetic production, the plant, Artemisia, will continue to be essential to supplies for the foreseeable future.
For further information about this area, Dana Dalrymple's book: 'Artemisia annua, Artemisinin, ACTs & Malaria Control in Africa' offers detailed coverage of the many different aspects.
Department of Biology