Glimpses into a History of Knowledge on the Antimalarial Lariam® in Zambia
Artikel der Postdoktarandin an der Professur Tischler, Tanja Hammel, im Blog "History of Knowledge".
You may have heard of the antimalarial agent mefloquine during the Covid-19 pandemic, as scientists suggested repurposing the drug to combat the novel coronavirus. Most drugs are developed for the body of a 27-year-old male Caucasian, and so was this antimalarial. Mefloquine was discovered in the Antimalaria Drug Discovery Program—the biggest program of its kind—launched by the American Army in 1963. Over a period of fifteen years 250,000 antimalarial agents were tested at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) in Washington DC. In 1969, researchers discovered WR 142,490, which became known as mefloquine in 1975. While the clinical trials were conducted in malaria-endemic areas, the drug was later marketed by the Basel-based Swiss pharmaceutical company F. Hofmann-La Roche (Roche) as Lariam®. By now, more than 35 million Western travelers have consumed the drug or its generic equivalent. While the neuropsychiatric side effects have attracted a great deal of media attention in the Anglo-Saxon world, African health experts’ clinical trials and their knowledge production on the drug have not. To remedy this in a small way, this blog post opens a small window into a larger project on Zambian experts’ contributions to medical science, particularly concerning malaria treatments, and the way these contributions have been overlooked.