An in vitro trial of artesunate on intestinal helminth parasites


Artesunate is a prescription drug in the treatment of severe malaria due to Plasmodium falciparum. It has surpassed all other antimalarial drugs in terms of efficacy and safety. Serendipitous experiments in the 1980s began to unveil its true and broad-spectrum medical potential. It has been successfully shown to be highly effective antiviral, antitrematodal, antischistosomal, and anticancer molecule. Although the anthelmintic activity is now established beyond doubt, it has never been tested on parasitic tapeworms (cestodes) and roundworms (nematodes). We treated the cestode Raillietina tetragona and the nematode Ascaridia galli with different doses, ranging from 0.7, 1.5, 3, 6 to 12 mg ml-1. The cestodes were highly susceptible to the various doses of the drug. But the nematodes were not at all responsive. The findings suggest that artesunate is a good candidate in the treatment of cestode infections.

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