There is a new drug for malaria called artemisinin. It will be synthesized in a chemical process and the procedure is "green". The French pharmaceutical company Sanofi produces a third of the world's demand annually. Unfortunately, the synthetic drug is expensive.
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Most of artemisinin is extracted from sweet wormwood. This is simple but the synthetic version involves the conversion of glucose into artemisinic acid: then three oxygen atoms are bonded on to produce artimsinin. It is complex.
The use of toxic dichloromethane is not used in the new process. It was discovered, ironically, that water greatly assists the synthesis. It packs molecules together. Water-soluble photocatalyst is indeed clean and green. The result is a product that is purer than artemisinin taken directly from wormwood.
✴ Chemistry by Ty Buchanan ✴