Sunday, 23 April 2017

Medical technologists find cheaper way to make essential medicine

Medical technologists have found a means to create an anti-fungal medication, designed to combat Cryptococcal meningitis, less expensively. The drug is intended for use in parts of Africa.
A fungal form of meningitis causes a major problem in parts of Africa, and it can lead to in-excess of 600,000 deaths each year. The aggressive disease accounts for close to 20 percent of deaths associated with AIDS related Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infections globally, based on U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention figures.
To combat incidences of the fungal infection, medics have profiled that an existing medicine could help. However, the medication is prohibitively expensive for health systems in many parts of Africa. As a solution, medical researchers have come up with a low-cost way of manufacturing the drug. This should lead to greater use of the drug in those parts of the world that need it the most.
The drug in question is the anti-fungal drug flucytosine. The drug has been used in countries like the U.S. for several decades. The World Health Organization, in 2011, made the recommendation that patients with Cryptococcal meningitis, an infection associated with those infected with HIV take flucytosine (in combination with another medication called amphotericin B) as a first line of defense. the primary agent of infection is Cryptococcus neoformans.
To make the medication at a lower cost, PharmPro reports that Dr. Graham Sandford from Durham University (U.K.) has come up with a new method. This is make flucytosine out of readily available, naturally occurring cytosine. This is by pumping inexpensive fluorine gas and a solution of cytosine in formic acid through a steel tube, where flucytosine is produced by later recrystallization.
The development of the alternative medication is described in the American Chemical Society journal Organic Process Research & Development. The research paper is titled "One-Step Continuous Flow Synthesis of Antifungal WHO Essential Medicine Flucytosine Using Fluorine."


Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle