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Malaria drug may help ease asthma, Singapore researchers find

It offers option for those who suffer side effects from steroids: NUS team

Published on Aug 1, 2014 7:26 AM
Dr Eugene Ho (left) and Associate Professor Fred Wong hope to launch clinical trials in two years. -- PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Singapore researchers have found that a common anti-malarial drug could be used to treat adult asthma patients.

The team of nine from the National University of Singapore (NUS) believe it could be used as an alternative to steroids, which can give rise to negative long-term side effects.

"Artesunate could suppress many hallmarks of asthma, such as airway inflammation and mucus production that obstructs airways," said Dr Eugene Ho, 30, a PhD graduate from the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health.

The herbal-based anti-inflammatory medicine is commonly used to treat malaria, but has not been used for controlling asthma.

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