Although there is now a good research pipeline of antimalarial drugs in response to the rapid spread of drug resistant malaria, there is very little evidence on how these drugs should best be deployed. The ACT Consortium is a global research partnership of a number of eminent public health and academic institutions in Africa, Asia, Europe and the United States where our projects' Principal Investigators are based. Research focuses around four major themes relating to artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs), the first-line treatment recommended by the World Health Organisation for malaria - in Africa and Asia: targeting, access, quality and safety. Including safety as a theme was important as, despite the wide scale use of ACTs, little is known about their long-term effects and their use in vulnerable populations, such as those co-infected with HIV. Moreover, it is clear that there is a need to work towards the pooling of safety data from multiple studies to understand uncommon adverse drug reactions that may not be detected by individual studies.
If you take two different medications for two different reasons, here's a sobering thought: your doctor may not fully understand what happens when they're combined, because drug interactions are incredibly hard to study. In this fascinating and accessible talk, Russ Altman shows how doctors are studying unexpected drug interactions using a surprising resource: search engine queries.