India firm Ranbaxy launches new malaria drug

File photo of an Indian tribal woman attending to a malaria victim in the remote village of Bilaihum in the state of Tripur Millions of malaria cases are reported from around the globe every year

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India's top drugmaker Ranbaxy Laboratories has launched a new malaria treatment drug, Synriam, on the occasion of the World Malaria Day.

The country's first anti-malaria drug would treat Plasmodium falciparum malaria in adults, the company said.

It said the new drug was approved by Indian authorities for sale in India and conformed to the recommendations of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The WHO estimates that malaria kills about 15,000 people annually in India.

But the Lancet, one of the world's leading medical journals, says that figure is hugely underestimated. It says more than 205,000 people die of malaria every year in India.

The drug was launched on Wednesday in the Indian capital, Delhi, by Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and Science and Technology Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh.

In a statement, Ranbaxy said: "Synriam provides quick relief from most malaria-related symptoms, including fever, and has a high cure rate of over 95%."

Tsutomu Une, the chairman of Ranbaxy, said: "The drug fills a vital therapy gap not only in India but also worldwide. We will make all possible efforts to make Synriam accessible to the world."

The company said it was working to make the drug available in Africa, Asia and South America where malaria is rampant.

Malaria remains a major global public health challenge. India accounts for over 75% of the 2.5 million reported cases of malaria in southeast Asia annually.

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