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  • Effectiveness of seasonal malaria chemoprevention at scale in west and central Africa: an observational study

    Coldiron, M; Grais, RF; ACCESS-SMC Partnership (Elsevier, 2020-12-05)
    Background Seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) aims to prevent malaria in children during the high malaria transmission season. The Achieving Catalytic Expansion of SMC in the Sahel (ACCESS-SMC) project sought to remove barriers to the scale-up of SMC in seven countries in 2015 and 2016. We evaluated the project, including coverage, effectiveness of the intervention, safety, feasibility, drug resistance, and cost-effectiveness. Methods For this observational study, we collected data on the delivery, effectiveness, safety, influence on drug resistance, costs of delivery, impact on malaria incidence and mortality, and cost-effectiveness of SMC, during its administration for 4 months each year (2015 and 2016) to children younger than 5 years, in Burkina Faso, Chad, The Gambia, Guinea, Mali, Niger, and Nigeria. SMC was administered monthly by community health workers who visited door-to-door. Drug administration was monitored via tally sheets and via household cluster-sample coverage surveys. Pharmacovigilance was based on targeted spontaneous reporting and monitoring systems were strengthened. Molecular markers of resistance to sulfadoxine–pyrimethamine and amodiaquine in the general population before and 2 years after SMC introduction was assessed from community surveys. Effectiveness of monthly SMC treatments was measured in case-control studies that compared receipt of SMC between patients with confirmed malaria and neighbourhood-matched community controls eligible to receive SMC. Impact on incidence and mortality was assessed from confirmed outpatient cases, hospital admissions, and deaths associated with malaria, as reported in national health management information systems in Burkina Faso and The Gambia, and from data from selected outpatient facilities (all countries). Provider costs of SMC were estimated from financial costs, costs of health-care staff time, and volunteer opportunity costs, and cost-effectiveness ratios were calculated as the total cost of SMC in each country divided by the predicted number of cases averted. Findings 12 467 933 monthly SMC treatments were administered in 2015 to a target population of 3 650 455 children, and 25 117 480 were administered in 2016 to a target population of 7 551 491. In 2015, among eligible children, mean coverage per month was 76·4% (95% CI 74·0–78·8), and 54·5% children (95% CI 50·4–58·7) received all four treatments. Similar coverage was achieved in 2016 (74·8% [72·2–77·3] treated per month and 53·0% [48·5–57·4] treated four times). In 779 individual case safety reports over 2015–16, 36 serious adverse drug reactions were reported (one child with rash, two with fever, 31 with gastrointestinal disorders, one with extrapyramidal syndrome, and one with Quincke's oedema). No cases of severe skin reactions (Stevens-Johnson or Lyell syndrome) were reported. SMC treatment was associated with a protective effectiveness of 88·2% (95% CI 78·7–93·4) over 28 days in case-control studies (2185 cases of confirmed malaria and 4370 controls). In Burkina Faso and The Gambia, implementation of SMC was associated with reductions in the number of malaria deaths in hospital during the high transmission period, of 42·4% (95% CI 5·9 to 64·7) in Burkina Faso and 56·6% (28·9 to 73·5) in The Gambia. Over 2015–16, the estimated reduction in confirmed malaria cases at outpatient clinics during the high transmission period in the seven countries ranged from 25·5% (95% CI 6·1 to 40·9) in Nigeria to 55·2% (42·0 to 65·3) in The Gambia. Molecular markers of resistance occurred at low frequencies. In individuals aged 10–30 years without SMC, the combined mutations associated with resistance to amodiaquine (pfcrt CVIET haplotype and pfmdr1 mutations [86Tyr and 184Tyr]) had a prevalence of 0·7% (95% CI 0·4–1·2) in 2016 and 0·4% (0·1–0·8) in 2018 (prevalence ratio 0·5 [95% CI 0·2–1·2]), and the quintuple mutation associated with resistance to sulfadoxine–pyrimethamine (triple mutation in pfdhfr and pfdhps mutations [437Gly and 540Glu]) had a prevalence of 0·2% (0·1–0·5) in 2016 and 1·0% (0·6–1·6) in 2018 (prevalence ratio 4·8 [1·7–13·7]). The weighted average economic cost of administering four monthly SMC treatments was US$3·63 per child. Interpretation SMC at scale was effective in preventing morbidity and mortality from malaria. Serious adverse reactions were rarely reported. Coverage varied, with some areas consistently achieving high levels via door-to-door campaigns. Markers of resistance to sulfadoxine–pyrimethamine and amodiaquine remained uncommon, but with some selection for resistance to sulfadoxine–pyrimethamine, and the situation needs to be carefully monitored. These findings should support efforts to ensure high levels of SMC coverage in west and central Africa.
  • Identification of main malaria vectors and their insecticide resistance profile in internally displaced and indigenous communities in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

    Loonen, Jeanine A C M; Dery, Dominic B; Musaka, Bertin Z; Bandibabone, Janvier B; Bousema, Teun; van Lenthe, Marit; Pop-Stefanija, Biserka; Fesselet, Jean-François; Koenraadt, Constantianus J M; 1 Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Amsterdam, The Netherlands. 2 Dépar‑ tement de Biologie, Centre de Recherche en Sciences Naturelles (CRSN/ Lwiro), Bukavu, South Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo. 3 Department of Medical Microbiology, Radboud Institute for Health Sciences, Radboud Uni‑ versity Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands. 4 Department of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Lon‑ don, UK. 5 Laboratory of Entomology, Wageningen University and Research, Wageningen, The Netherlands. (2020-11-23)
    Background Malaria remains a major public health concern in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and its control is affected by recurrent conflicts. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) initiated several studies to better understand the unprecedented incidence of malaria to effectively target and implement interventions in emergency settings. The current study evaluated the main vector species involved in malaria transmission and their resistance to insecticides, with the aim to propose the most effective tools and strategies for control of local malaria vectors. Methods This study was performed in 52 households in Shamwana (Katanga, 2014), 168 households in Baraka (South Kivu, 2015) and 269 households in Kashuga (North Kivu, 2017). Anopheles vectors were collected and subjected to standardized Word Health Organization (WHO) and Center for Disease Control (CDC) insecticide susceptibility bioassays. Mosquito species determination was done using PCR and Plasmodium falciparum infection in mosquitoes was assessed by ELISA targeting circumsporozoite protein. Results Of 3517 Anopheles spp. mosquitoes collected, Anopheles gambiae sensu lato (s.l.) (29.6%) and Anopheles funestus (69.1%) were the main malaria vectors. Plasmodium falciparum infection rates for An. gambiae s.l. were 1.0, 2.1 and 13.9% for Shamwana, Baraka and Kashuga, respectively. Anopheles funestus showed positivity rates of 1.6% in Shamwana and 4.4% in Baraka. No An. funestus were collected in Kashuga. Insecticide susceptibility tests showed resistance development towards pyrethroids in all locations. Exposure to bendiocarb, malathion and pirimiphos-methyl still resulted in high mosquito mortality. Conclusions This is one of only few studies from these conflict areas in DRC to report insecticide resistance in local malaria vectors. The data suggest that current malaria prevention methods in these populations are only partially effective, and require additional tools and strategies. Importantly, the results triggered MSF to consider the selection of a new insecticide for indoor residual spraying (IRS) and a new long-lasting insecticide-treated net (LLIN). The reinforcement of correct usage of LLINs and the introduction of targeted larviciding were also included as additional vector control tools as a result of the studies.
  • Identification of main malaria vectors and their insecticide resistance profile in internally displaced and indigenous communities in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

    Loonen, JACM; Dery, DB; Musaka, BZ; Bandibabone, JB; Bousema, T; van Lenthe, M; Pop-Stefanija, B; Fesselet, JF; Koenraadt, CJM (BMC, 2020-11-23)
    Background Malaria remains a major public health concern in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and its control is affected by recurrent conflicts. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) initiated several studies to better understand the unprecedented incidence of malaria to effectively target and implement interventions in emergency settings. The current study evaluated the main vector species involved in malaria transmission and their resistance to insecticides, with the aim to propose the most effective tools and strategies for control of local malaria vectors. Methods This study was performed in 52 households in Shamwana (Katanga, 2014), 168 households in Baraka (South Kivu, 2015) and 269 households in Kashuga (North Kivu, 2017). Anopheles vectors were collected and subjected to standardized Word Health Organization (WHO) and Center for Disease Control (CDC) insecticide susceptibility bioassays. Mosquito species determination was done using PCR and Plasmodium falciparum infection in mosquitoes was assessed by ELISA targeting circumsporozoite protein. Results Of 3517 Anopheles spp. mosquitoes collected, Anopheles gambiae sensu lato (s.l.) (29.6%) and Anopheles funestus (69.1%) were the main malaria vectors. Plasmodium falciparum infection rates for An. gambiae s.l. were 1.0, 2.1 and 13.9% for Shamwana, Baraka and Kashuga, respectively. Anopheles funestus showed positivity rates of 1.6% in Shamwana and 4.4% in Baraka. No An. funestus were collected in Kashuga. Insecticide susceptibility tests showed resistance development towards pyrethroids in all locations. Exposure to bendiocarb, malathion and pirimiphos-methyl still resulted in high mosquito mortality. Conclusions This is one of only few studies from these conflict areas in DRC to report insecticide resistance in local malaria vectors. The data suggest that current malaria prevention methods in these populations are only partially effective, and require additional tools and strategies. Importantly, the results triggered MSF to consider the selection of a new insecticide for indoor residual spraying (IRS) and a new long-lasting insecticide-treated net (LLIN). The reinforcement of correct usage of LLINs and the introduction of targeted larviciding were also included as additional vector control tools as a result of the studies.
  • The risk of Plasmodium vivax parasitaemia after P. falciparum malaria: An individual patient data meta-analysis from the WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network

    Hossain, MS; Commons, RJ; Douglas, NM; Thriemer, K; Alemayehu, BH; Amaratunga, C; Anvikar, AR; Ashley, EA; Asih, PBS; Carrara, VI; et al. (Public Library of Science, 2020-11-19)
    Background: There is a high risk of Plasmodium vivax parasitaemia following treatment of falciparum malaria. Our study aimed to quantify this risk and the associated determinants using an individual patient data meta-analysis in order to identify populations in which a policy of universal radical cure, combining artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) with a hypnozoitocidal antimalarial drug, would be beneficial. Methods and findings: A systematic review of Medline, Embase, Web of Science, and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews identified efficacy studies of uncomplicated falciparum malaria treated with ACT that were undertaken in regions coendemic for P. vivax between 1 January 1960 and 5 January 2018. Data from eligible studies were pooled using standardised methodology. The risk of P. vivax parasitaemia at days 42 and 63 and associated risk factors were investigated by multivariable Cox regression analyses. Study quality was assessed using a tool developed by the Joanna Briggs Institute. The study was registered in the International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (PROSPERO: CRD42018097400). In total, 42 studies enrolling 15,341 patients were included in the analysis, including 30 randomised controlled trials and 12 cohort studies. Overall, 14,146 (92.2%) patients had P. falciparum monoinfection and 1,195 (7.8%) mixed infection with P. falciparum and P. vivax. The median age was 17.0 years (interquartile range [IQR] = 9.0-29.0 years; range = 0-80 years), with 1,584 (10.3%) patients younger than 5 years. 2,711 (17.7%) patients were treated with artemether-lumefantrine (AL, 13 studies), 651 (4.2%) with artesunate-amodiaquine (AA, 6 studies), 7,340 (47.8%) with artesunate-mefloquine (AM, 25 studies), and 4,639 (30.2%) with dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DP, 16 studies). 14,537 patients (94.8%) were enrolled from the Asia-Pacific region, 684 (4.5%) from the Americas, and 120 (0.8%) from Africa. At day 42, the cumulative risk of vivax parasitaemia following treatment of P. falciparum was 31.1% (95% CI 28.9-33.4) after AL, 14.1% (95% CI 10.8-18.3) after AA, 7.4% (95% CI 6.7-8.1) after AM, and 4.5% (95% CI 3.9-5.3) after DP. By day 63, the risks had risen to 39.9% (95% CI 36.6-43.3), 42.4% (95% CI 34.7-51.2), 22.8% (95% CI 21.2-24.4), and 12.8% (95% CI 11.4-14.5), respectively. In multivariable analyses, the highest rate of P. vivax parasitaemia over 42 days of follow-up was in patients residing in areas of short relapse periodicity (adjusted hazard ratio [AHR] = 6.2, 95% CI 2.0-19.5; p = 0.002); patients treated with AL (AHR = 6.2, 95% CI 4.6-8.5; p < 0.001), AA (AHR = 2.3, 95% CI 1.4-3.7; p = 0.001), or AM (AHR = 1.4, 95% CI 1.0-1.9; p = 0.028) compared with DP; and patients who did not clear their initial parasitaemia within 2 days (AHR = 1.8, 95% CI 1.4-2.3; p < 0.001). The analysis was limited by heterogeneity between study populations and lack of data from very low transmission settings. Study quality was high. Conclusions: In this meta-analysis, we found a high risk of P. vivax parasitaemia after treatment of P. falciparum malaria that varied significantly between studies. These P. vivax infections are likely attributable to relapses that could be prevented with radical cure including a hypnozoitocidal agent; however, the benefits of such a novel strategy will vary considerably between geographical areas.
  • Two-Year Scale-Up of Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention Reduced Malaria Morbidity among Children in the Health District of Koutiala, Mali.

    Maiga, H; Gaudart, J; Sagara, I; Diarra, M; Bamadio, A; Djimde, M; Coumare, S; Sangare, B; Dicko, Y; Tembely, A; et al. (MDPI, 2020-09-11)
    Background: Previous controlled studies demonstrated seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) reduces malaria morbidity by >80% in children aged 3-59 months. Here, we assessed malaria morbidity after large-scale SMC implementation during a pilot campaign in the health district of Koutiala, Mali. Methods: Starting in August 2012, children received three rounds of SMC with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) and amodiaquine (AQ). From July 2013 onward, children received four rounds of SMC. Prevalence of malaria infection, clinical malaria and anemia were assessed during two cross-sectional surveys conducted in August 2012 and June 2014. Investigations involved 20 randomly selected clusters in 2012 against 10 clusters in 2014. Results: Overall, 662 children were included in 2012, and 670 in 2014. Children in 2014 versus those surveyed in 2012 showed reduced proportions of malaria infection (12.4% in 2014 versus 28.7% in 2012 (p = 0.001)), clinical malaria (0.3% versus 4.2%, respectively (p < 0.001)), and anemia (50.1% versus 67.4%, respectively (p = 0.001)). A propensity score approach that accounts for environmental differences showed that SMC conveyed a significant protective effect against malaria infection (IR = 0.01, 95% CI (0.0001; 0.09), clinical malaria (OR = 0.25, 95% CI (0.06; 0.85)), and hemoglobin concentration (β = 1.3, 95% CI (0.69; 1.96)) in 2012 and 2014, respectively. Conclusion: SMC significantly reduced frequency of malaria infection, clinical malaria and anemia two years after SMC scale-up in Koutiala.
  • Needs and Challenges in Modelling Malaria for Emergency Contexts

    Boete, C; Guardiola, M; Lasry, E; Burza, S; Moriana, S; Roberston, W (Elsevier We regret that this article is behind a paywall., 2020-09-01)
    While modelling is an essential component for an understanding of the epidemiology of malaria, and for designing better control measures, it rarely considers the particular contexts encountered in emergency settings. By linking these situations with the transmission parameters our aim is to correct this bias and call for a better collaboration between relief actors.
  • Needs and Challenges in Modelling Malaria for Emergency Contexts

    Boëte, C; Guardiola, M; Lasry, E; Burza, S; Moriana, S; Robertson, W (Elsevier, 2020-05-29)
    While modelling is an essential component for an understanding of the epidemiology of malaria, and for designing better control measures, it rarely considers the particular contexts encountered in emergency settings. By linking these situations with the transmission parameters our aim is to correct this bias and call for a better collaboration between relief actors.
  • The duration of chemoprophylaxis against malaria after treatment with artesunate-amodiaquine and artemether-lumefantrine and the effects of pfmdr1 86Y and pfcrt 76T: a meta-analysis of individual patient data

    Bretscher, M; Dahal, P; Griffin, J; Bassat, Q; Baudin, E; D'Alessandro, U; Djimde, AA; Dorsey, G; Espié, E; Fofana, B; et al. (BioMed Central, 2020-02-25)
    BACKGROUND: The majority of Plasmodium falciparum malaria cases in Africa are treated with the artemisinin combination therapies artemether-lumefantrine (AL) and artesunate-amodiaquine (AS-AQ), with amodiaquine being also widely used as part of seasonal malaria chemoprevention programs combined with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine. While artemisinin derivatives have a short half-life, lumefantrine and amodiaquine may give rise to differing durations of post-treatment prophylaxis, an important additional benefit to patients in higher transmission areas. METHODS: We analyzed individual patient data from 8 clinical trials of AL versus AS-AQ in 12 sites in Africa (n = 4214 individuals). The time to PCR-confirmed reinfection after treatment was used to estimate the duration of post-treatment protection, accounting for variation in transmission intensity between settings using hidden semi-Markov models. Accelerated failure-time models were used to identify potential effects of covariates on the time to reinfection. The estimated duration of chemoprophylaxis was then used in a mathematical model of malaria transmission to determine the potential public health impact of each drug when used for first-line treatment. RESULTS: We estimated a mean duration of post-treatment protection of 13.0 days (95% CI 10.7-15.7) for AL and 15.2 days (95% CI 12.8-18.4) for AS-AQ overall. However, the duration varied significantly between trial sites, from 8.7-18.6 days for AL and 10.2-18.7 days for AS-AQ. Significant predictors of time to reinfection in multivariable models were transmission intensity, age, drug, and parasite genotype. Where wild type pfmdr1 and pfcrt parasite genotypes predominated (<=20% 86Y and 76T mutants, respectively), AS-AQ provided ~ 2-fold longer protection than AL. Conversely, at a higher prevalence of 86Y and 76T mutant parasites (> 80%), AL provided up to 1.5-fold longer protection than AS-AQ. Our simulations found that these differences in the duration of protection could alter population-level clinical incidence of malaria by up to 14% in under-5-year-old children when the drugs were used as first-line treatments in areas with high, seasonal transmission. CONCLUSION: Choosing a first-line treatment which provides optimal post-treatment prophylaxis given the local prevalence of resistance-associated markers could make a significant contribution to reducing malaria morbidity.
  • Adherence and Population Pharmacokinetic Properties of Amodiaquine When Used for Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention in African Children.

    Ding, J; Coldiron, ME; Assao, B; Guindo, O; Blessborn, D; Winterberg, M; Grais, RF; Koscalova, A; Langendorf, C; Tarning, J (American Society for Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 2019-12-31)
    Poor adherence to seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) might affect the protective effectiveness of SMC. Here, we evaluated the population pharmacokinetic properties of amodiaquine and its active metabolite, desethylamodiaquine, in children receiving SMC under directly observed ideal conditions (n = 136), and the adherence of SMC at an implementation phase in children participating in a case-control study to evaluate SMC effectiveness (n = 869). Amodiaquine and desethylamodiaquine concentration-time profiles were described simultaneously by two-compartment and three-compartment disposition models, respectively. The developed methodology to evaluate adherence showed a sensitivity of 65-71% when the first dose of SMC was directly observed and 71-73% when no doses were observed in a routine programmatic setting. Adherence simulations and measured desethylamodiaquine concentrations in the case-control children showed complete adherence (all doses taken) in < 20% of children. This result suggests that more efforts are needed urgently to improve the adherence to SMC among children in this area.
  • Clinical diagnostic evaluation of HRP2 and pLDH-based rapid diagnostic tests for malaria in an area receiving seasonal malaria chemoprevention in Niger.

    Coldiron, M; Assao, B; Langendorf, C; Sayinzoga-Makombe, N; Ciglenecki, I; de la Tour, R; Piriou, E; Bako, M; Mumina, A; Guindo, O; et al. (BioMed Central, 2019-12-26)
    BACKGROUND: Rapid diagnostic tests (RDT) for malaria are common, but their performance varies. Tests using histidine-rich protein 2 (HRP2) antigen are most common, and many have high sensitivity. HRP2 tests can remain positive for weeks after treatment, limiting their specificity and usefulness in high-transmission settings. Tests using Plasmodium lactate dehydrogenase (pLDH) have been less widely used but have higher specificity, mostly due to a much shorter time to become negative. METHODS: A prospective, health centre-based, diagnostic evaluation of two malaria RDTs was performed in rural Niger during the high malaria transmission season (3-28 October, 2017) and during the low transmission season (28 January-31 March, 2018). All children under 5 years of age presenting with fever (axillary temperature > 37.5 °C) or history of fever in the previous 24 h were eligible. Capillary blood was collected by finger prick. The SD Bioline HRP2 (catalog: 05FK50) and the CareStart pLDH(pan) (catalog: RMNM-02571) were performed in parallel, and thick and thin smears were prepared. Microscopy was performed at Epicentre, Maradi, Niger, with external quality control. The target sample size was 279 children with microscopy-confirmed malaria during each transmission season. RESULTS: In the high season, the sensitivity of both tests was estimated at > 99%, but the specificity of both tests was lower: 58.0% (95% CI 52.1-63.8) for the pLDH test and 57.4% (95% CI 51.5-63.1) for the HRP2 test. The positive predictive value was 66.3% (95% CI 61.1-71.2) for both tests. In the low season, the sensitivity of both tests dropped: 91.0% (95% CI 85.3-95.0) for the pLDH test and 85.8% (95% CI 79.3-90.9) for the HRP2 test. The positive predictive value remained low for both tests in the low season: 60.5% (95% CI 53.9-66.8) for the pLDH test and 61.9% (55.0-68.4) for the HRP2 test. Performance was similar across different production lots, gender, age of the children, and, during the high season, time since the most recent distribution of seasonal malaria chemoprevention. CONCLUSIONS: The low specificity of the pLDH RDT in this setting was unexpected and is not easily explained. As the pLDH test continues to be introduced into new settings, the questions raised by this study will need to be addressed.
  • Clinical diagnostic evaluation of HRP2 and pLDH-based rapid diagnostic tests for malaria in an area receiving seasonal malaria chemoprevention in Niger

    Coldiron, M; Assao, B; Langendorf, C; Sayinzoga-Makombe, N; de la Tour, R; Piriou, E; Ciglenecki, I; Mumina, A; Guindo, O; Page, A-L; et al. (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2019-12-26)
    Background Rapid diagnostic tests (RDT) for malaria are common, but their performance varies. Tests using histidine-rich protein 2 (HRP2) antigen are most common, and many have high sensitivity. HRP2 tests can remain positive for weeks after treatment, limiting their specificity and usefulness in high-transmission settings. Tests using Plasmodium lactate dehydrogenase (pLDH) have been less widely used but have higher specificity, mostly due to a much shorter time to become negative. Methods A prospective, health centre-based, diagnostic evaluation of two malaria RDTs was performed in rural Niger during the high malaria transmission season (3–28 October, 2017) and during the low transmission season (28 January–31 March, 2018). All children under 5 years of age presenting with fever (axillary temperature > 37.5 °C) or history of fever in the previous 24 h were eligible. Capillary blood was collected by finger prick. The SD Bioline HRP2 (catalog: 05FK50) and the CareStart pLDH(pan) (catalog: RMNM-02571) were performed in parallel, and thick and thin smears were prepared. Microscopy was performed at Epicentre, Maradi, Niger, with external quality control. The target sample size was 279 children with microscopy-confirmed malaria during each transmission season. Results In the high season, the sensitivity of both tests was estimated at > 99%, but the specificity of both tests was lower: 58.0% (95% CI 52.1–63.8) for the pLDH test and 57.4% (95% CI 51.5–63.1) for the HRP2 test. The positive predictive value was 66.3% (95% CI 61.1–71.2) for both tests. In the low season, the sensitivity of both tests dropped: 91.0% (95% CI 85.3–95.0) for the pLDH test and 85.8% (95% CI 79.3–90.9) for the HRP2 test. The positive predictive value remained low for both tests in the low season: 60.5% (95% CI 53.9–66.8) for the pLDH test and 61.9% (55.0–68.4) for the HRP2 test. Performance was similar across different production lots, gender, age of the children, and, during the high season, time since the most recent distribution of seasonal malaria chemoprevention. Conclusions The low specificity of the pLDH RDT in this setting was unexpected and is not easily explained. As the pLDH test continues to be introduced into new settings, the questions raised by this study will need to be addressed.
  • Markers of sulfadoxine–pyrimethamine resistance in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo; implications for malaria chemoprevention

    van Lenthe, M; van der Meulen, R; Okell, L; Piriou, E; Lassovski, M; Bakula, E; Badio, C; Roper, C; Bousema, T; Ouabo, A; et al. (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2019-12-18)
    Background Sulfadoxine–pyrimethamine (SP) is a cornerstone of malaria chemoprophylaxis and is considered for programmes in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). However, SP efficacy is threatened by drug resistance, that is conferred by mutations in the dhfr and dhps genes. The World Health Organization has specified that intermittent preventive treatment for infants (IPTi) with SP should be implemented only if the prevalence of the dhps K540E mutation is under 50%. There are limited current data on the prevalence of resistance-conferring mutations available from Eastern DRC. The current study aimed to address this knowledge gap. Methods Dried blood-spot samples were collected from clinically suspected malaria patients [outpatient department (OPD)] and pregnant women attending antenatal care (ANC) in four sites in North and South Kivu, DRC. Quantitative PCR (qPCR) was performed on samples from individuals with positive and with negative rapid diagnostic test (RDT) results. Dhps K450E and A581G and dhfr I164L were assessed by nested PCR followed by allele-specific primer extension and detection by multiplex bead-based assays. Results Across populations, Plasmodium falciparum parasite prevalence was 47.9% (1160/2421) by RDT and 71.7 (1763/2421) by qPCR. Median parasite density measured by qPCR in RDT-negative qPCR-positive samples was very low with a median of 2.3 parasites/µL (IQR 0.5–25.2). Resistance genotyping was successfully performed in RDT-positive samples and RDT-negative/qPCR-positive samples with success rates of 86.2% (937/1086) and 55.5% (361/651), respectively. The presence of dhps K540E was high across sites (50.3–87.9%), with strong evidence for differences between sites (p < 0.001). Dhps A581G mutants were less prevalent (12.7–47.2%). The dhfr I164L mutation was found in one sample. Conclusions The prevalence of the SP resistance marker dhps K540E exceeds 50% in all four study sites in North and South Kivu, DRC. K540E mutations regularly co-occurred with mutations in dhps A581G but not with the dhfr I164L mutation. The current results do not support implementation of IPTi with SP in the study area.
  • Markers of sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine resistance in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo; implications for malaria chemoprevention.

    van Lenthe, M; van der Meulen, R; Lassovski, M; Ouabo, A; Bakula, E; Badio, C; Cibenda, D; Okell, L; Piriou, E; Grignard, L; et al. (BioMed Central, 2019-12-18)
    BACKGROUND: Sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) is a cornerstone of malaria chemoprophylaxis and is considered for programmes in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). However, SP efficacy is threatened by drug resistance, that is conferred by mutations in the dhfr and dhps genes. The World Health Organization has specified that intermittent preventive treatment for infants (IPTi) with SP should be implemented only if the prevalence of the dhps K540E mutation is under 50%. There are limited current data on the prevalence of resistance-conferring mutations available from Eastern DRC. The current study aimed to address this knowledge gap. METHODS: Dried blood-spot samples were collected from clinically suspected malaria patients [outpatient department (OPD)] and pregnant women attending antenatal care (ANC) in four sites in North and South Kivu, DRC. Quantitative PCR (qPCR) was performed on samples from individuals with positive and with negative rapid diagnostic test (RDT) results. Dhps K450E and A581G and dhfr I164L were assessed by nested PCR followed by allele-specific primer extension and detection by multiplex bead-based assays. RESULTS: Across populations, Plasmodium falciparum parasite prevalence was 47.9% (1160/2421) by RDT and 71.7 (1763/2421) by qPCR. Median parasite density measured by qPCR in RDT-negative qPCR-positive samples was very low with a median of 2.3 parasites/µL (IQR 0.5-25.2). Resistance genotyping was successfully performed in RDT-positive samples and RDT-negative/qPCR-positive samples with success rates of 86.2% (937/1086) and 55.5% (361/651), respectively. The presence of dhps K540E was high across sites (50.3-87.9%), with strong evidence for differences between sites (p < 0.001). Dhps A581G mutants were less prevalent (12.7-47.2%). The dhfr I164L mutation was found in one sample. CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of the SP resistance marker dhps K540E exceeds 50% in all four study sites in North and South Kivu, DRC. K540E mutations regularly co-occurred with mutations in dhps A581G but not with the dhfr I164L mutation. The current results do not support implementation of IPTi with SP in the study area.
  • A review of the WHO malaria rapid diagnostic test product testing programme (2008–2018): performance, procurement and policy

    Cunningham, J; Jones, S; Gatton, M; Barnwell, J; Cheng, Q; Chiodini, P; Glenn, J; Gonzalez, I; Kosack, C; Nhem, S; et al. (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2019-12-02)
    Malaria rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) emerged in the early 1990s into largely unregulated markets, and uncertain field performance was a major concern for the acceptance of tests for malaria case management. This, combined with the need to guide procurement decisions of UN agencies and WHO Member States, led to the creation of an independent, internationally coordinated RDT evaluation programme aiming to provide comparative performance data of commercially available RDTs. Products were assessed against Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax samples diluted to two densities, along with malaria-negative samples from healthy individuals, and from people with immunological abnormalities or non-malarial infections. Three measures were established as indicators of performance, (i) panel detection score (PDS) determined against low density panels prepared from P. falciparum and P. vivax wild-type samples, (ii) false positive rate, and (iii) invalid rate, and minimum criteria defined. Over eight rounds of the programme, 332 products were tested. Between Rounds 1 and 8, substantial improvements were seen in all performance measures. The number of products meeting all criteria increased from 26.8% (11/41) in Round 1, to 79.4% (27/34) in Round 8. While products submitted to further evaluation rounds under compulsory re-testing did not show improvement, those voluntarily resubmitted showed significant increases in P. falciparum (p = 0.002) and P. vivax PDS (p < 0.001), with more products meeting the criteria upon re-testing. Through this programme, the differentiation of products based on comparative performance, combined with policy changes has been influential in the acceptance of malaria RDTs as a case-management tool, enabling a policy of parasite-based diagnosis prior to treatment. Publication of product testing results has produced a transparent market allowing users and procurers to clearly identify appropriate products for their situation, and could form a model for introduction of other, broad-scale diagnostics.
  • Adherence and population pharmacokinetic properties of amodiaquine when used for seasonal malaria chemoprevention in African children

    Ding, J; Coldiron, ME; Assao, B; Guindo, O; Blessborn, D; Winterberg, M; Grais, RFF; Koscalova, A; Langendorf, C; Tarning, J (American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 2019-10-25)
    Poor adherence to seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) might affect the protective effectiveness of SMC. Here, we evaluated the population pharmacokinetic properties of amodiaquine and its active metabolite, desethylamodiaquine, in children receiving SMC under directly‐observed ideal conditions (n=136), and the adherence of SMC at an implementation phase in children participating in a case‐control study to evaluate SMC effectiveness (n=869). Amodiaquine and desethylamodiaquine concentration‐time profiles were described simultaneously by two‐compartment and three‐compartment disposition models, respectively. The developed methodology to evaluate adherence showed a sensitivity of 65‐71% when the first dose of SMC was directly observed and 71‐73% when no doses were observed in a routine programmatic setting. Adherence simulations and measured desethylamodiaquine concentrations in the case‐control children showed complete adherence (all doses taken) in less than 20% of children. This result suggests that more efforts are needed urgently to improve the adherence to SMC among children in this area.
  • Identifying exceptional malaria occurrences in the absence of historical data in South Sudan: a method validation

    Benedetti, G; White, RA; Akello Pasquale, H; Stassjins, J; van den Boogaard, W; Owiti, P; Van den Bergh, R (International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, 2019-09-21)
    Background: Detecting unusual malaria events that may require an operational intervention is challenging, especially in endemic contexts with continuous transmission such as South Sudan. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) utilises the classic average plus standard deviation (AV+SD) method for malaria surveillance. This and other available approaches, however, rely on antecedent data, which are often missing. Objective: To investigate whether a method using linear regression (LR) over only 8 weeks of retrospective data could be an alternative to AV+SD. Design: In the absence of complete historical malaria data from South Sudan, data from weekly influenza reports from 19 Norwegian counties (2006–2015) were used as a testing data set to compare the performance of the LR and the AV+SD methods. The moving epidemic method was used as the gold standard. Subsequently, the LR method was applied in a case study on malaria occurrence in MSF facilities in South Sudan (2010–2016) to identify malaria events that required a MSF response. Results: For the Norwegian influenza data, LR and AV+SD methods did not perform differently (P  0.05). For the South Sudanese malaria data, the LR method identified historical periods when an operational response was mounted. Conclusion: The LR method seems a plausible alternative to the AV+SD method in situations where retrospective data are missing.
  • Competing risk events in antimalarial drug trials in uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria: a WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network individual participant data meta-analysis.

    Dahal, P; Simpson, JA; Abdulla, S; Achan, J; Adam, I; Agarwal, A; Allan, R; Anvikar, AR; Arinaitwe, E; Ashley, EA; et al. (BioMed Central, 2019-07-05)
    BACKGROUND: Therapeutic efficacy studies in uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria are confounded by new infections, which constitute competing risk events since they can potentially preclude/pre-empt the detection of subsequent recrudescence of persistent, sub-microscopic primary infections. METHODS: Antimalarial studies typically report the risk of recrudescence derived using the Kaplan-Meier (K-M) method, which considers new infections acquired during the follow-up period as censored. Cumulative Incidence Function (CIF) provides an alternative approach for handling new infections, which accounts for them as a competing risk event. The complement of the estimate derived using the K-M method (1 minus K-M), and the CIF were used to derive the risk of recrudescence at the end of the follow-up period using data from studies collated in the WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network data repository. Absolute differences in the failure estimates derived using these two methods were quantified. In comparative studies, the equality of two K-M curves was assessed using the log-rank test, and the equality of CIFs using Gray's k-sample test (both at 5% level of significance). Two different regression modelling strategies for recrudescence were considered: cause-specific Cox model and Fine and Gray's sub-distributional hazard model. RESULTS: Data were available from 92 studies (233 treatment arms, 31,379 patients) conducted between 1996 and 2014. At the end of follow-up, the median absolute overestimation in the estimated risk of cumulative recrudescence by using 1 minus K-M approach was 0.04% (interquartile range (IQR): 0.00-0.27%, Range: 0.00-3.60%). The overestimation was correlated positively with the proportion of patients with recrudescence [Pearson's correlation coefficient (ρ): 0.38, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) 0.30-0.46] or new infection [ρ: 0.43; 95% CI 0.35-0.54]. In three study arms, the point estimates of failure were greater than 10% (the WHO threshold for withdrawing antimalarials) when the K-M method was used, but remained below 10% when using the CIF approach, but the 95% confidence interval included this threshold. CONCLUSIONS: The 1 minus K-M method resulted in a marginal overestimation of recrudescence that became increasingly pronounced as antimalarial efficacy declined, particularly when the observed proportion of new infection was high. The CIF approach provides an alternative approach for derivation of failure estimates in antimalarial trials, particularly in high transmission settings.
  • Severe acute malnutrition results in lower lumefantrine exposure in children treated with artemether-lumefantrine for uncomplicated malaria

    Chotsiri, P; Denoeud-Ndam, L; Baudin, E; Guindo, O; Diawara, H; Attaher, O; Smit, M; Guerin, PJ; Duombo, OK; Weisner, L; et al. (American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 2019-06-01)
    Severe acute malnutrition (SAM) has been reported to be associated with increased malaria morbidity in Sub‐Saharan African children and may affect the pharmacology of antimalarial drugs. This population pharmacokinetic‐pharmacodynamic study included 131 SAM and 266 non‐SAM children administered artemether‐lumefantrine twice daily for 3 days. Lumefantrine capillary plasma concentrations were adequately described by two transit‐absorption compartments followed by two distribution compartments. Allometrically scaled body weight and an enzymatic maturation effect were included in the pharmacokinetic model. Mid‐upper arm circumference (MUAC) was associated with decreased absorption of lumefantrine (25.4% decrease per 1 cm reduction). Risk of recurrent malaria episodes (i.e. reinfection) were characterised by an interval‐censored time‐to‐event model with a sigmoid EMAX‐model describing the effect of lumefantrine. SAM children were at risk of under‐exposure to lumefantrine and an increased risk of malaria reinfection compared to well‐nourished children. Research on optimised regimens should be considered for malaria treatment in malnourished children.
  • Novel Approaches to Control Malaria in Forested Areas of Southeast Asia.

    von Seidlein, L; Peto, TJ; Tripura, R; Pell, C; Yeung, S; Kindermans, JM; Dondorp, A; Maude, R (Elsevier, 2019-05-07)
    The emergence and spread of drug resistance in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) have added urgency to accelerate malaria elimination while reducing the treatment options. The remaining foci of malaria transmission are often in forests, where vectors tend to bite during daytime and outdoors, thus reducing the effectiveness of insecticide-treated bed nets. Limited periods of exposure suggest that chemoprophylaxis could be a promising strategy to protect forest workers against malaria. Here we discuss three major questions in optimizing malaria chemoprophylaxis for forest workers: which antimalarial drug regimens are most appropriate, how frequently the chemoprophylaxis should be delivered, and how to motivate forest workers to use, and adhere to, malaria prophylaxis.
  • Complex interactions between malaria and malnutrition: a systematic literature review

    Das, D; Grais, RF F; Okiro, E A; Stepniewska, K; Mansoor, R; van der Kam, S; Terlouw, D J; Tarning, J; Barnes, K I; Guerin, P J (BMC, 2018-10-29)
    Despite substantial improvement in the control of malaria and decreased prevalence of malnutrition over the past two decades, both conditions remain heavy burdens that cause hundreds of thousands of deaths in children in resource-poor countries every year. Better understanding of the complex interactions between malaria and malnutrition is crucial for optimally targeting interventions where both conditions co-exist. This systematic review aimed to assess the evidence of the interplay between malaria and malnutrition.

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