New partnership to improve seed supplies of vital anti-malarial plant

7th Nov 2011

At the Artemisinin Conference in Hanoi, the Centre for Novel Agricultural Products (CNAP), at the University of York, and East-West Seed announced a new partnership to ensure that high yielding seeds from improved varieties of Artemisia annua will rapidly be made available for global cultivation.

CNAP has partnered with leading tropical seed company East-West Seed to produce Artemisia seeds in commercial quantities. This new supply of improved seed will help build up a robust supply chain for the production of Artemisinin Combination Therapies (ACTs), the World Health Organisation recommended treatment for malaria.

Through the partnership, large-scale commercialization and distribution of the seeds to Artemisia growers are expected in 2012, targeting 20% of the global Artemisia cultivation acreage. Annual global demand for ACTs is expected to increase beyond the current level of 250 million treatments to up to 310 million by 2015 and the new high yielding seeds will help achieve the strategic aims of universal coverage of ACTs and access to treatments.

Past field trial results demonstrate that all the newly available varieties will perform well in various growing conditions and under diverse regional agricultural practices. In the trials, plants have been assessed for abundance of yield, robustness, and resistance to pests and diseases.

Bert van der Feltz, VP Sales and Marketing, said ‘Through this new partnership with CNAP, East-West Seed can count itself among the many organizations and individuals -- national governments, donor foundations, research institutions, universities, pharmaceutical companies and individual philanthropists – who are committed to the elimination and eradication of malaria.’

Dianna Bowles, one of the Co-Principal Investigators at CNAP said ‘I am delighted that we have successfully partnered with East-West Seed. This provides an excellent opportunity for the new Artemisia varieties developed at York to make a real difference to the fight against malaria.’

Ian Graham, the CNAP Director and Co-Principal Investigator on the project, said ‘This partnership with East-West Seed is excellent for the project and demonstrates CNAP’s commitment to delivery as well as top quality research’.

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