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Counterfeiting, short supply hamper powerful Chinese herbal malaria drug

(NewsTarget) Doctors around the world have used a Chinese herbal drug — artemisinin — to effectively treat malaria since the 1960s, but recent supply shortages have sparked production of dangerous counterfeits, according to World Health Organization (WHO) officials.

Li Guiqiao, a professor at the Tropical Medicine Institute at Guangzhou University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, said he first used artemisinin on malaria patients when he was a village doctor in China's Yunnan province in 1974, at the government's request. Within hours, all 18 of his test patients felt better, and all recovered within a few days, Li said.

By Jessica Fraser
19 December 2006

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