FDA Approves Drug to Treat Severe Malaria

WEDNESDAY, May 27, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- A drug to treat severe malaria in adults and children has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

There hasn't been an FDA-approved drug to treat severe malaria since quinidine was discontinued by the manufacturer in March 2019.

The new approval is for intravenous (IV) artesunate, which should always be followed by a complete treatment course of an appropriate oral antimalarial therapy, the FDA said.

"This approval will now give patients more access to a lifesaving drug," Dr. John Farley, acting director of the Office of Infectious Diseases in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in an agency news release.

About 2,000 malaria cases are diagnosed each year in the United States, and about 300 are severe cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most U.S. cases occur in people who've traveled to countries with malaria.

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