NewsCovering Kentucky


UK Tests Malaria-Fighting Plant

Posted at 7:17 PM, Sep 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-19 19:17:36-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — The University of Kentucky’s College of Agriculture is taking part in a research trial that could potentially help treat millions who develop malaria.

For the past year, it has been producing a crop that creates materials for drugs that treat the disease.

“The goal is to produce plant material to which they can extract the pharmaceutical artemisinin out of, to make pills or drugs that can be used to treat malaria,” said research coordinator Patrick Perry.

Nearly a year ago, two German scientists came to Kentucky looking for a place to grow the Artemisia plant.

“We have the correct climate, environment, growing season. We are also very familiar with transplant production,” said Perry.

With 200 million people affected worldwide every single year, 400,000 of them die from the symptoms.

“Most of which because they do not have access to this drug, because there is such a limited supply,” said Perry.

Their goal is to create the Artemisinin for these drugs in Kentucky in an efficient and cost-effect way. So those in underdeveloped countries have access to the treatment.

The German-based company is excited about the possibilities of production in the Bluegrass.

“They’re actually working on a possibility of building their extraction facilities right here in Central Kentucky,” said Perry.