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PLoS Medicine Issue Image | Vol. 5(2) February 2008

PLoS Medicine Issue Image | Vol. 5(2) February 2008

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The Fake Antimalarial Drugs Trade.

The cover image this month comes from a unique collaborative study that found evidence that fake antimalarial drugs are being manufactured in China, prompting a criminal investigation (Newton, et al. e32). The image is of a hologram copy of one of the fake artesunate drugs; in Figure 2 of the study, a fake hologram can be seen under UV light. Most of the fakes contained no artesunate. Many contained wrong active ingredients, including banned pharmaceuticals such as metamizole and the carcinogenic drug safrole. Some contained dangerously small amounts of artesunate: enough to foil screening tests, too low to treat malaria, yet high enough to encourage the spread of malaria parasites resistant to the medicine. The study involved the international police organization INTERPOL and led to the arrest of a gang in Yunnan, China, alleged to be responsible for producing almost half of the counterfeit artesunate in Southeast Asia.

Surveillance of another kind is debated in this issue (Chandramohan, et al. e57): demographic surveillance, the process of monitoring birth, deaths, causes of deaths, and migration in a population over time. The proprietorial, managerial, and financial obstacles to the sharing of demographic surveillance data are discussed. As the editorial for the issue points out, PLoS ONE is one venue for making such data freely and publicly available.

Image Credit: Figure 2C from Newton PN, Fernández FM, Plançon A, Mildenhall DC, Green MD, et al.

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The Fake Antimalarial Drugs Trade.

The cover image this month comes from a unique collaborative study that found evidence that fake antimalarial drugs are being manufactured in China, prompting a criminal investigation (Newton, et al. e32). The image is of a hologram copy of one of the fake artesunate drugs; in Figure 2 of the study, a fake hologram can be seen under UV light. Most of the fakes contained no artesunate. Many contained wrong active ingredients, including banned pharmaceuticals such as metamizole and the carcinogenic drug safrole. Some contained dangerously small amounts of artesunate: enough to foil screening tests, too low to treat malaria, yet high enough to encourage the spread of malaria parasites resistant to the medicine. The study involved the international police organization INTERPOL and led to the arrest of a gang in Yunnan, China, alleged to be responsible for producing almost half of the counterfeit artesunate in Southeast Asia.

Surveillance of another kind is debated in this issue (Chandramohan, et al. e57): demographic surveillance, the process of monitoring birth, deaths, causes of deaths, and migration in a population over time. The proprietorial, managerial, and financial obstacles to the sharing of demographic surveillance data are discussed. As the editorial for the issue points out, PLoS ONE is one venue for making such data freely and publicly available.

Image Credit: Figure 2C from Newton PN, Fernández FM, Plançon A, Mildenhall DC, Green MD, et al.

https://doi.org/10.1371/image.pmed.v05.i02.g001