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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2012 Jan;56(1):163-73. doi: 10.1128/AAC.05006-11. Epub 2011 Oct 17.

Synthesis of artemiside and its effects in combination with conventional drugs against severe murine malaria.

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Department of Pathology and Bosch Institute, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia.


This research describes the use of novel antimalarial combinations of the new artemisinin derivative artemiside, a 10-alkylamino artemisinin. It is a stable, highly crystalline compound that is economically prepared from dihydroartemisinin in a one-step process. Artemiside activity was more pronounced than that of any antimalarial drug in use, both in Plasmodium falciparum culture and in vivo in a murine malaria model depicting cerebral malaria (CM). In vitro high-throughput testing of artemiside combinations revealed a large number of conventional antimalarial drugs with which it was additive. Following monotherapy in mice, individual drugs reduced parasitemias to nondetectable levels. However, after a period of latency, parasites again were seen and eventually all mice became terminally ill. Treatment with individual drugs did not prevent CM in mice with recrudescent malaria, except for piperaquine at high concentrations. Even when CM was prevented, the mice developed later of severe anemia. In contrast, most of the mice treated with drug combinations survived. A combination of artemiside and mefloquine or piperaquine may confer an optimal result because of the longer half life of both conventional drugs. The use of artemiside combinations revealed a significant safety margin of the effective artemiside doses. Likewise, a combination of 1.3 mg/kg of body weight artemiside and 10 mg/kg piperaquine administered for 3 days from the seventh day postinfection was completely curative. It appears possible to increase drug concentrations in the combination therapy without reaching toxic levels. Using the drug combinations as little as 1 day before the expected death of control animals, we could prevent further parasite development and death due to CM or anemic malaria. Earlier treatment may prevent cognitive dysfunctions which might occur after recovery from CM.

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