Savvy Truthdig readers (as if there were any other kind) already know that the drug business is highly political here in the States, but the story of the Chinese malaria remedy artemisinin takes it up several notches on the international stage with a saga spanning several decades. Oh, and Chairman Mao is also involved.
A new vaccine trial is underway in Africa in an attempt to control malaria, a disease that not only kills 1 million people every year, but also makes 300 million seriously sick. If the trial results come back positive, a worldwide vaccine could be available as soon as 2012.
For only $5 a month, you too can undermine a developing country’s health infrastructure. Since 1990, foreign funding for “development assistance” has quadrupled, offering medical resources to the poor but also luring local health care workers away from government hospitals and toward more lucrative private companies.