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Adama Kamara nurses her daughter Miatta Sannoh, 7 months old, in the village of Giema Dama, Kenema District, Sierra Leone, on June 5, 2017. Miatta was recently sick with malaria.
Sam Phelps/UNICEF

Malaria Cases Could Drop Worldwide, Thanks to This New Medication

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Roughly 3.2 billion people, or half the world's population, live in areas at risk of malaria transmission. Efforts to eliminate the disease are key to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3 on good health and well-being for all. Take action here.

A new drug for treating recurring malaria has been given the green light by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Krintafel, also known as tafenoquine, is a single-dose medication that targets P. vivax malaria, the second-most common strain of the parasite that infects 8.5 million people each year, reports the BBC.

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“This new drug is an important breakthrough, and making it available quickly will help reduce malaria cases globally, especially in Asia and the Americas,” Martin Edlund, CEO of Malaria No More, said in an interview with Vanguard.

The strain has been particularly difficult to treat, as many infected people unwittingly contain the dormant parasite in their livers until it reawakens in their bodies and a mosquito can transport it to someone else, noted the BBC.

But tafenoquine can flush the parasite out of the liver and halt reinfection.

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The drug was developed by GSK and Medicines for Malaria Venture with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, noted Vanguard. It is the first new treatment for P. vivax malaria in more than 60 years, according to the report.

“India is the proving ground for humanity’s ambition to end diseases; it was with smallpox, and polio, and now it will be for malaria,” Edlund told Vanguard. “As Malaria No More works to support India’s goal to eliminate malaria by 2030, having Krintafel available could make a huge difference."