Saving lives with UV light

technology report online, Mai 2014

More than 200 million people contract the tropical disease every year. The problem: There is a lack of drugs to treat all of the patients. Heraeus is helping to change that.

UV immersion reactor
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Artemisinine, an important active ingredient, can be isolated from the medicinal plant artemisia annua (sweet wormwood, mugwort). But the process is tedious and inefficient. And above all, the plant's natural growth rate is too slow to supply medication for all the patients who need it.

The solution to this problem lies in synthetic production of the antimalarial agent. And this is exactly where UV lamps from Heraeus can save lives, because ultraviolet light is essential to the synthetic production of this agent.

In an innovative manufacturing process, the ingredient is synthesized cost-efficiently in large quantities in a fermentation process with subsequent photochemical reaction.

Working with partners to achieve a specific solution

The special UV systems for photochemical reactions are built by Peschl Ultraviolett GmbH in close cooperation with Heraeus. They use specialty light sources specifically developed by Heraeus. This makes it possible to cover approximately half of the anticipated global demand, treating patients who need it. The World Health Organization (WHO) is counting on artemisinine to halt the spread of malaria by 2015.

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reactor system
Source: Peschl Ultraviolet

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