• Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine and artemether-lumefantrine for treating uncomplicated malaria in African children: a randomised, non-inferiority trial

      Bassat, Quique; Mulenga, Modest; Tinto, Halidou; Piola, Patrice; Borrmann, Steffen; Menéndez, Clara; Nambozi, Michael; Valéa, Innocent; Nabasumba, Carolyn; Sasi, Philip; et al. (2009-11-17)
      BACKGROUND: Artemisinin combination therapies (ACTs) are currently the preferred option for treating uncomplicated malaria. Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DHA-PQP) is a promising fixed-dose ACT with limited information on its safety and efficacy in African children. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The non-inferiority of DHA-PQP versus artemether-lumefantrine (AL) in children 6-59 months old with uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria was tested in five African countries (Burkina Faso, Kenya, Mozambique, Uganda and Zambia). Patients were randomised (2:1) to receive either DHA-PQP or AL. Non-inferiority was assessed using a margin of -5% for the lower limit of the one-sided 97.5% confidence interval on the treatment difference (DHA-PQP vs. AL) of the day 28 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) corrected cure rate. Efficacy analysis was performed in several populations, and two of them are presented here: intention-to-treat (ITT) and enlarged per-protocol (ePP). 1553 children were randomised, 1039 receiving DHA-PQP and 514 AL. The PCR-corrected day 28 cure rate was 90.4% (ITT) and 94.7% (ePP) in the DHA-PQP group, and 90.0% (ITT) and 95.3% (ePP) in the AL group. The lower limits of the one-sided 97.5% CI of the difference between the two treatments were -2.80% and -2.96%, in the ITT and ePP populations, respectively. In the ITT population, the Kaplan-Meier estimate of the proportion of new infections up to Day 42 was 13.55% (95% CI: 11.35%-15.76%) for DHA-PQP vs 24.00% (95% CI: 20.11%-27.88%) for AL (p<0.0001). CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: DHA-PQP is as efficacious as AL in treating uncomplicated malaria in African children from different endemicity settings, and shows a comparable safety profile. The occurrence of new infections within the 42-day follow up was significantly lower in the DHA-PQP group, indicating a longer post-treatment prophylactic effect. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Controlled-trials.com ISRCTN16263443.
    • Efficacy of artesunate-amodiaquine for treating uncomplicated falciparum malaria in sub-Saharan Africa: a multi-centre analysis.

      Zwang, Julien; Olliaro, Piero; Barennes, Hubert; Bonnet, Maryline; Brasseur, Philippe; Bukirwa, Hasifa; Cohuet, Sandra; D'Alessandro, Umberto; Djimdé, Abdulaye; Karema, Corine; et al. (2009-11)
      BACKGROUND: Artesunate and amodiaquine (AS&AQ) is at present the world's second most widely used artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT). It was necessary to evaluate the efficacy of ACT, recently adopted by the World Health Organization (WHO) and deployed over 80 countries, in order to make an evidence-based drug policy. METHODS: An individual patient data (IPD) analysis was conducted on efficacy outcomes in 26 clinical studies in sub-Saharan Africa using the WHO protocol with similar primary and secondary endpoints. RESULTS: A total of 11,700 patients (75% under 5 years old), from 33 different sites in 16 countries were followed for 28 days. Loss to follow-up was 4.9% (575/11,700). AS&AQ was given to 5,897 patients. Of these, 82% (4,826/5,897) were included in randomized comparative trials with polymerase chain reaction (PCR) genotyping results and compared to 5,413 patients (half receiving an ACT). AS&AQ and other ACT comparators resulted in rapid clearance of fever and parasitaemia, superior to non-ACT. Using survival analysis on a modified intent-to-treat population, the Day 28 PCR-adjusted efficacy of AS&AQ was greater than 90% (the WHO cut-off) in 11/16 countries. In randomized comparative trials (n = 22), the crude efficacy of AS&AQ was 75.9% (95% CI 74.6-77.1) and the PCR-adjusted efficacy was 93.9% (95% CI 93.2-94.5). The risk (weighted by site) of failure PCR-adjusted of AS&AQ was significantly inferior to non-ACT, superior to dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DP, in one Ugandan site), and not different from AS+SP or AL (artemether-lumefantrine). The risk of gametocyte appearance and the carriage rate of AS&AQ was only greater in one Ugandan site compared to AL and DP, and lower compared to non-ACT (p = 0.001, for all comparisons). Anaemia recovery was not different than comparator groups, except in one site in Rwanda where the patients in the DP group had a slower recovery. CONCLUSION: AS&AQ compares well to other treatments and meets the WHO efficacy criteria for use against falciparum malaria in many, but not all, the sub-Saharan African countries where it was studied. Efficacy varies between and within countries. An IPD analysis can inform general and local treatment policies. Ongoing monitoring evaluation is required.
    • In vivo parasitological measures of artemisinin susceptibility

      Stepniewska, Kasia; Ashley, Elizabeth; Lee, Sue J; Anstey, Nicholas; Barnes, Karen I; Binh, Tran Quang; D'Alessandro, Umberto; Day, Nicholas P J; de Vries, Peter J; Dorsey, Grant; et al. (2010-01-19)
      Parasite clearance data from 18,699 patients with falciparum malaria treated with an artemisinin derivative in areas of low (n=14,539), moderate (n=2077), and high (n=2083) levels of malaria transmission across the world were analyzed to determine the factors that affect clearance rates and identify a simple in vivo screening measure for artemisinin resistance. The main factor affecting parasite clearance time was parasite density on admission. Clearance rates were faster in high-transmission settings and with more effective partner drugs in artemisinin-based combination treatments (ACTs). The result of the malaria blood smear on day 3 (72 h) was a good predictor of subsequent treatment failure and provides a simple screening measure for artemisinin resistance. Artemisinin resistance is highly unlikely if the proportion of patients with parasite densities of <100,000 parasites/microL given the currently recommended 3-day ACT who have a positive smear result on day 3 is <3%; that is, for n patients the observed number with a positive smear result on day 3 does not exceed (n + 60)/24.
    • Ranking malaria risk factors to guide malaria control efforts in African highlands

      Protopopoff, Natacha; Van Bortel, Wim; Speybroeck, Niko; Van Geertruyden, Jean-Pierre; Baza, Dismas; D'Alessandro, Umberto; Coosemans, Marc; Department of Parasitology, Prince Leopold Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium; Medecins Sans Frontieres Brussels, Belgium; Department of Animal Health, Prince Leopold Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium; School of Public Health, Universite Catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium; Programme de Lutte contre les Maladies Transmissibles et Carentielles, Ministry of Health, Bujumbura, Burundi; Department of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium (2009-11-25)
      INTRODUCTION: Malaria is re-emerging in most of the African highlands exposing the non immune population to deadly epidemics. A better understanding of the factors impacting transmission in the highlands is crucial to improve well targeted malaria control strategies. METHODS AND FINDINGS: A conceptual model of potential malaria risk factors in the highlands was built based on the available literature. Furthermore, the relative importance of these factors on malaria can be estimated through "classification and regression trees", an unexploited statistical method in the malaria field. This CART method was used to analyse the malaria risk factors in the Burundi highlands. The results showed that Anopheles density was the best predictor for high malaria prevalence. Then lower rainfall, no vector control, higher minimum temperature and houses near breeding sites were associated by order of importance to higher Anopheles density. CONCLUSIONS: In Burundi highlands monitoring Anopheles densities when rainfall is low may be able to predict epidemics. The conceptual model combined with the CART analysis is a decision support tool that could provide an important contribution toward the prevention and control of malaria by identifying major risk factors.
    • Safety and efficacy of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine in falciparum malaria: a prospective multi-centre individual patient data analysis.

      Zwang, Julien; Ashley, Elizabeth A; Karema, Corine; D'Alessandro, Umberto; Smithuis, Frank; Dorsey, Grant; Janssens, Bart; Mayxay, Mayfong; Newton, Paul; Singhasivanon, Pratap; et al. (2009-07-15)
      BACKGROUND: The fixed dose antimalarial combination of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DP) is a promising new artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT). We present an individual patient data analysis of efficacy and tolerability in acute uncomplicated falciparum malaria, from seven published randomized clinical trials conducted in Africa and South East Asia using a predefined in-vivo protocol. Comparator drugs were mefloquine-artesunate (MAS3) in Thailand, Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia; artemether-lumefantrine in Uganda; and amodiaquine+sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine and artesunate+amodiaquine in Rwanda. METHODS AND FINDINGS: In total 3,547 patients were enrolled: 1,814 patients (32% children under five years) received DP and 1,733 received a comparator antimalarial at 12 different sites and were followed for 28-63 days. There was no significant heterogeneity between trials. DP was well tolerated with 1.7% early vomiting. There were less adverse events with DP in children and adults compared to MAS3 except for diarrhea; ORs (95%CI) 2.74 (2.13 to 3.51) and 3.11 (2.31 to 4.18), respectively. DP treatment resulted in a rapid clearance of fever and parasitaemia. The PCR genotype corrected efficacy at Day 28 of DP assessed by survival analysis was 98.7% (95%CI 97.6-99.8). DP was superior to the comparator drugs in protecting against both P.falciparum recurrence and recrudescence (P = 0.001, weighted by site). There was no difference between DP and MAS3 in treating P. vivax co-infections and in suppressing the first relapse (median interval to P. vivax recurrence: 6 weeks). Children under 5 y were at higher risk of recurrence for both infections. The proportion of patients developing gametocytaemia (P = 0.002, weighted by site) and the subsequent gametocyte carriage rates were higher with DP (11/1000 person gametocyte week, PGW) than MAS3 (6/1000 PGW, P = 0.001, weighted by site). CONCLUSIONS: DP proved a safe, well tolerated, and highly effective treatment of P.falciparum malaria in Asia and Africa, but the effect on gametocyte carriage was inferior to that of MAS3.