CNAP Artemisia Project

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Benefits from the new varieties

The medicinal plant Artemisia annua is currently the only source of artemisinin but the crop has undergone a relatively short period of genetic improvement and yields are very low, making it expensive and sometimes unprofitable to produce.

The World Health Organisation recommends artemisinin combination therapies (ACTs) for treating malaria.  Demand for ACTs is escalating, yet, there is growing concern that the existing supply chain will be unable to produce consistent, affordable and high quality artemisinin in the quantities that will soon be required.  Planting varies from year to year , raising fears of shortages.  Although new approaches to artemisinin production are being developed, the plant, Artemisia, will continue to be essential to supplies for the foreseeable future.

This project is addressing these concerns by creating improved new robust varieties of Artemisia with higher artemisinin yields. Once introduced, the new varieties will bring a range of benefits.


High-yielding Artemisia varieties from this project will bring a range of benefits, helping to;
benefits Stabilise artemisinin supplies farmers will be encouraged to grow more Artemisia, which will prevent shortage-driven price hikes.
benefits Lower production costs increasing the artemisinin content of the plant substantially reduces the costs of both cultivation and extraction.
benefits Support small farmers in less developed regions by providing them with a more robust and profitable crop. 
benefits Reduce environmental impacts by lowering the requirements for transport and the amount of solvent needed for extraction.
benefits Support production of high quality ACTs seed for the new varieties will be only be distributed to Artemisia growers supplying high quality ACTs
benefits Contribute to increased efforts to tackle malaria the first high yielding seeds will be available in time to supply increasing demand for ACTs.

 

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cnetre for novel agricultural products - CNAP department of biology - unversity of york
Department of Biology