Scientists achieve breakthrough in malaria fight

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SCIENTISTS at York University are hailing a breakthrough in the worldwide fight against malaria.

A team at the university, which was awarded a $14m grant in 2006 from Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates, has developed a hybrid version of the plant Sweet Annie, which is used in the production of anti-malaria drug artemisinin.

The high-yield version of the plant, which can produce up to 50 per cent more of the drug, looks set to go into full-scale production later this year. Professor Ian Graham, head of the university’s Centre for Novel Agricultural Products, said: “The reason we got the grant was to produce a very robust crop that farmers could rely on for high yields and guarantee the supply of artemisinin.”