Benin: Local anti-malaria drug wins $100,000 award

A ground-breaking anti-malarial drug made by Dr Valentin Agon of Benin, has been awarded $100,000 at the 2016 Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) in Gaborone, Botswana.

Api-Palu is made from natural plant extract and is significantly cheaper than anti-malarial drugs currently on the market; it has great inhibitory effects on 3D7 strains of plasmodium falciparum the causative agent of malaria.

The drug has hit the local market and neighboring Burkina Faso, Chad and the Central African Republic (CAR).

Dr Valentin Agon received his award during a ceremony that marked the anniversary of the Innovation Prize for Africa’s (IPA) landmark program of the African Innovation Foundation (AIF).

There was a total of 985 applications of which 10 finalists were selected across a range of fields.

“A product for malaria [prevention] coming from Africa for Africans, this is my dream. My dream comes true, because malaria is one of the biggest killers in Africa and finding a solution which is based on natural product is just what I have been dreaming about,” Jean Claude Bastos de Morais, the AIF founder told reporters.

It took Dr Valentin Agon 16 years of research to make the drug. He intends to use the prize money to increase production and distribute the drug in every country in Africa by 2017.