THE genetic code of the plant that provides the most effective treatment for malaria has been cracked by scientists, raising the prospect of cheaper and more plentiful drugs against a disease that kills about a million people each year, writes Mark Henderson.
The achievement by British researchers will assist the development of higher-yielding varieties of the sweet wormwood plant Artemisia annua that addresses a global shortage of the drug artemisinin and reduces its cost.
Artemisinin combination therapies, in which the drug is given in combination with older anti-malarial treatments, are recommended by the World Health Organisation. Current levels of artemisinin production are insufficient.
The genetic map was drawn up a team led by Dianna Bowles and Ian Graham, of the University of York in England. (© The Times, London)