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London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine Malaria Centre

Analytical service measuring quality of antimalarials drugs and insecticides


Service to measure the quality of antimalarial drugs and insecticides

The School’s bioanalytical laboratory currently conducts analyses of the quality and level of antimalarial drugs, and measures the amount of insecticide on bed nets using chromatographic techniques.

Substandard, degraded and falsified (including counterfeit) drugs are found in malaria-burdened countries. Therefore there is a need to routinely determine the quality of available formulations.

Physicochemical assessment of drugs is highly informative and in vitro dissolution testing is carried out prior to the start of the clinical trials. This offers information of the in vivo bioavailability and bioequivalence of oral solid dosage forms.

Furthermore, the detection of antimalarial drugs and their metabolites at the population level is invaluable when evaluating drug levels during clinical trials. This is also helpful in population-based epidemiological field studies.

We use high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) coupled to a photodiode array (PDA) detector to quantitate most of the widely used antimalarial drugs. These include the artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs), some of the metabolites and four antibiotics on a single column. We also analyse insecticides by measuring the amounts of DDT, permethrin, deltamethrin, alpha-cypermethrin, Lambda-cyhalothrin & chlorfenapyr on filter paper, fabrics or bed nets utilising the HPLC-PDA based methodology.

We have developed non-laboratory based screening methods for use in the field, to check the quality of ACTs by specifically detecting the artemisinin component, as well as simple chemical analysis for the semi quantitative levels of type 2 pyrethroids on bed nets.

Please direct all queries relating to the analytical service to harparkash [dot] kaur [at] lshtm [dot] ac [dot] uk (Harparkash Kaur.)