With information from Renata Martins, from Rádio Nacional

The National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) granted, on the 30th, the registration for taphenoquine. The drug provides for a single dose cure for malaria, a disease that affected nearly 200,000 people in Brazil in 2018 alone.

Before medication is made available to the general population, taphenoquine will be available only to study participants. For a year, the drug will be used in Manaus, Amazonas and Porto Velho, Rondônia. The survey is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2021. If the results are considered good, the drug could be broadly incorporated into the Unified Health System (SUS).

The new drug is a chemical modification of primaquine – a drug used in current treatment. The main difference is that instead of the infected person spending seven days taking the medicine, the healthcare professional can administer it in a single dose.

The drug has been registered by the company GSK. Clinical research in Brazil was conducted by researchers at the Tropical Medicine Foundation in Manaus. The director of research at the Tropical Medicine Foundation, Wuelton Marcelo Monteiro, points out that one of the problems related to malaria today is treatment abandonment.

According to the researcher, it is estimated that about 30% of all cases of malaria in the Amazon are relapses, ie people who get sick again. In addition, the individual who has not completed treatment will serve as a source for new infections. Wuelton Monteiro says that one of the objectives of the group in Manaus, from now on, is to do the cost and effectiveness analysis of the drug.

The new drug is given to patients over 16 years of age and is not indicated for pregnant women. According to the Tropical Medicine Foundation, the drug has already been registered in the United States and Australia, but Brazil will be the first country to use it in the routine of a health network.

Malaria is an acute febrile infectious disease caused by protozoa transmitted by the infected female Anopheles mosquito. Data from the Ministry of Health indicate that, in Brazil, most cases of malaria are concentrated in the Amazon region, in the states of Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Maranhão, Mato Grosso, Pará, Rondônia, Roraima and Tocantins.