As part of our Artemisia crowdfunding campaign we decided to create this website so that we can report on our progress. The main idea here is to give a short overview of the tests that we are conducting, the reason why we are conducting these tests, and also to give the public an opportunity to make comments or suggestions (this site will be updated as we go along).
The first test that we are currently conducting is to check if the Artemisia annua and Artemisia afra tea infusions, prepared in a similar way than in the clinical trials, will be stable over a 12-16 hour period. We need to get our head around the chemistry and stability of these infusions for quality control purposes. In the clinical trials, 5g of plant material was added to 1L of boiling water, it was left to infuse for 10min, after which it was filtered and administered over a 1 day period to the participants in the trials (a 12 hour period). We used the same ratio (100mg/20mL of boiling water), used a 0.45 micron syringe filter to filter the infusion into HPLC vials for HPLC analysis (equipment depicted above). The detector that we use is a PDA detector which detects UV-absorbing compounds. The figure below illustrates the chemical profile of a fresh A. annua tea infusion. The x-axis is time in minutes, and the y-axis the intensity of UV absorbance by the different compounds.
The current plan is to compare the chemical profiles of the fresh tea with the profile of a 16 hour old tea. If any of the molecules disappear then we have stability issues. There is now obviously a number of problems.
- We do not know which of these compounds are the ‘actives’, and therefore even if a number of compounds degrade, we will still not know if it will have an impact on the activity.
- The analytical instrument only detects UV absorbing compounds. There are many compounds that will not be detected. The well known antimalarial compound, artemisinin, does not absorb UV and will not be detected with this technique.
- Based on the clinical trial publications, we do not know how the tea infusions where stored eg. fridge, at room temp, exposed to light or not etc. and what the influence of this will be on the chemistry.
In order to get a better idea about the chemistry and the stability of the tea infusions we therefore need to conduct a number of tests. HPLC with UV detection is one method, this will be followed mass spectroscopy specifically to look at artemisinin and related compounds. And finally we will conduct Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectroscopy in order to get a more ‘complete’ picture of the chemistry of the Artemisia tea infusions.