• Artesunate + amodiaquine and artesunate + sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine for treatment of uncomplicated malaria in Democratic Republic of Congo: a clinical trial with determination of sulphadoxine and pyrimethamine-resistant haplotypes.

      Swarthout, T D; van den Broek, I; Kayembe, G; Montgomery, J; Pota, H; Roper, C; Médecins Sans Frontières, London, UK. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2006-10)
      We undertook a trial of artesunate + amodiaquine (AS + AQ) and artesunate + sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (AS + SP) in 180 children of age 6-59 months with uncomplicated malaria in Democratic Republic of Congo. Children were randomly allocated to receive 3 days observed treatment of AS + AQ (n = 90) or 3 days of AS + SP (n = 90). Primary efficacy outcomes were 28-day parasite recurrence rates, and recrudescence rates were adjusted by genotyping to distinguish new infection and recrudescence. In addition, we determined the prevalence of molecular markers of resistance to sulphadoxine and pyrimethamine. Day 28 parasite recurrence rates were 16.9% (14/83; 95% CI: 9.5-26.7) in the AS + AQ group and 34.6% (28/81; 95% CI: 24.3-46.0) in the AS + SP group (P = 0.009). After PCR correction, recrudescence rates were 6.7% (5/74; 95% CI: 2.2-15.1) for AS + AQ and 19.7% (13/66; 95% CI: 10.9-31.3) for AS + SP (P = 0.02). There was no significant difference between the two arms in time to parasite clearance, fever clearance and gametocyte clearance. Parasite genotyping showed high frequencies of dihydrofolate reductase (dhfr) and dihydropteroate synthase (dhps) molecular SP-resistance markers, with 57% of the samples showing more than three mutations linked to SP resistance, and 27% with triple-dhfr/double-dhps haplotype, confirming that SP treatment failure rates are likely to be high. AS + AQ had significantly higher efficacy than AS + SP. These results contributed to the subsequent change to AS + AQ as first-line regimen in the country. Efforts to properly implement the new protocol and maintain adherence at acceptable levels should include health staff and patient sensitization. The 6.8% recrudescence rate indicates that AS + AQ should be monitored closely until a more effective artemisinin combination therapy regimen is needed and can be introduced.
    • Assessing antimalarial efficacy in a time of change to artemisinin-based combination therapies: The role of Médecins Sans Frontières

      Guthmann, J P; Checchi, F; van den Broek, I; Balkan, S; Van Herp, M; Comte, E; Bernal, O; Kindermans, J M; Venis, S; Legros, D; et al. (Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2008-08-05)
    • Chloroquine, sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine and amodiaquine efficacy for the treatment of uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Upper Nile, south Sudan.

      van den Broek, I; Gatkoi, T; Lowoko, B; Nzila, A; Ochong, E; Keus, K; Médecins sans Frontières-Holland, South Sudan-Section, P. O. Box 4064, Nairobi, Kenya. ingrid_vandenbroek@yahoo.com (Elsevier, 2008-01-31)
      The current first-line and second-line drugs for Plasmodium falciparum malaria in South Sudan, chloroquine and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP), were evaluated and compared with amodiaquine, in an MSF-Holland-run clinic in eastern Upper Nile, South Sudan from June to December 2001. Patients with uncomplicated malaria and fever were stratified by age group and randomly allocated to one of 3 treatment regimes. A total of 342 patients was admitted and followed for 14 d after treatment. The dropout rate was 10.2%. Of those who completed the study, 104 were treated with chloroquine (25 mg/kg, 3 d), 102 with SP (25 mg/kg sulfadoxine and 1.25 mg/kg pyrimethamine, single dose) and 101 with amodiaquine (25 mg/kg, 3 d). Adequate clinical response was observed in 88.5% of patients treated with chloroquine, 100% of patients treated with SP and 94.1% of patients treated with amodiaquine. In children aged < 5 years, the success rate was lower: 83.3% for chloroquine and 93.0% for amodiaquine. In adults no treatment failures were found, but children aged 5-15 years showed intermediate levels. In addition, we determined the initial genotypes of dhfr and dhps of 44 isolates from the SP-treated group and > 80% were found to be wild type for dhfr and 100% for dhps. Two percent of isolates had a single mutation and 16% had double mutations of dhfr. These data are in full agreement with the clinical effectiveness of SP. A change in malaria treatment protocols for South Sudan is recommended.
    • Different methodological approaches to the assessment of in vivo efficacy of three artemisinin-based combination antimalarial treatments for the treatment of uncomplicated falciparum malaria in African children.

      Ashley, E A; Pinoges, L; Turyakira, E; Dorsey, G; Checchi, F; Bukirwa, H; van den Broek, I; Zongo, I; Urruta, P P P; van Herp, M; et al. (2008-08-09)
      BACKGROUND: Use of different methods for assessing the efficacy of artemisinin-based combination antimalarial treatments (ACTs) will result in different estimates being reported, with implications for changes in treatment policy. METHODS: Data from different in vivo studies of ACT treatment of uncomplicated falciparum malaria were combined in a single database. Efficacy at day 28 corrected by PCR genotyping was estimated using four methods. In the first two methods, failure rates were calculated as proportions with either (1a) reinfections excluded from the analysis (standard WHO per-protocol analysis) or (1b) reinfections considered as treatment successes. In the second two methods, failure rates were estimated using the Kaplan-Meier product limit formula using either (2a) WHO (2001) definitions of failure, or (2b) failure defined using parasitological criteria only. RESULTS: Data analysed represented 2926 patients from 17 studies in nine African countries. Three ACTs were studied: artesunate-amodiaquine (AS+AQ, N = 1702), artesunate-sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (AS+SP, N = 706) and artemether-lumefantrine (AL, N = 518).Using method (1a), the day 28 failure rates ranged from 0% to 39.3% for AS+AQ treatment, from 1.0% to 33.3% for AS+SP treatment and from 0% to 3.3% for AL treatment. The median [range] difference in point estimates between method 1a (reference) and the others were: (i) method 1b = 1.3% [0 to 24.8], (ii) method 2a = 1.1% [0 to 21.5], and (iii) method 2b = 0% [-38 to 19.3].The standard per-protocol method (1a) tended to overestimate the risk of failure when compared to alternative methods using the same endpoint definitions (methods 1b and 2a). It either overestimated or underestimated the risk when endpoints based on parasitological rather than clinical criteria were applied. The standard method was also associated with a 34% reduction in the number of patients evaluated compared to the number of patients enrolled. Only 2% of the sample size was lost when failures were classified on the first day of parasite recurrence and survival analytical methods were used. CONCLUSION: The primary purpose of an in vivo study should be to provide a precise estimate of the risk of antimalarial treatment failure due to drug resistance. Use of survival analysis is the most appropriate way to estimate failure rates with parasitological recurrence classified as treatment failure on the day it occurs.
    • Drug resistance in Plasmodium falciparum from the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh.

      van den Broek, I; van der Wardt, S; Talukder, L; Chakma, S; Brockman, A; Nair, S; Anderson, T C; Médecins sans Frontières-Holland, Gulshan, Dhaka, Bangladesh. ingrid.van.den.braek@london.msf.org (Wiley-Blackwell, 2004-06)
      OBJECTIVE: To assess the efficacy of antimalarial treatment and molecular markers of Plasmodium falciparum resistance in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh. METHODS: A total of 203 patients infected with P. falciparum were treated with quinine 3 days plus sulphadoxine/pyrimethamine (SP) combination therapy, and followed up during a 4-week period. Blood samples collected before treatment were genotyped for parasite mutations related to chloroquine (pfcrt and pfmdr1 genes) or SP resistance (dhfr and dhps). RESULTS: Of 186 patients who completed follow-up, 32 patients (17.2%) failed to clear parasitaemia or became positive again within 28 days after treatment. Recurring parasitaemia was related to age (chi(2) = 4.8, P < 0.05) and parasite rates on admission (t = 3.1, P < 0.01). PCR analysis showed that some of these cases were novel infections. The adjusted recrudescence rate was 12.9% (95% CI 8.1-17.7) overall, and 16.6% (95% CI 3.5-29.7), 15.5% (95% CI 8.3-22.7) and 6.9% (95% CI 0.4-13.4) in three age groups (<5 years, 5-14, > or =15). The majority of infections carried mutations associated with chloroquine resistance: 94% at pfcrt and 70% at pfmdr. Sp-resistant genotypes were also frequent: 99% and 73% of parasites carried two or more mutations at dhfr and dhps, respectively. The frequency of alleles at dhfr, dhps and pfmdr was similar in cases that were successfully treated and those that recrudesced. CONCLUSIONS: The clinical trial showed that quinine 3-days combined to SP is still relatively effective in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. However, if this regimen is continued to be widely used, further development of SP resistance and reduced quinine sensitivity are to be expected. The genotyping results suggest that neither chloroquine nor SP can be considered a reliable treatment for P. falciparum malaria any longer in this area of Bangladesh.
    • Efficacy of chloroquine + sulfadoxine--pyrimethamine, mefloquine + artesunate and artemether + lumefantrine combination therapies to treat Plasmodium falciparum malaria in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh.

      van den Broek, I; Maung, U A; Peters, A; Liem, L; Kamal, M; Rahman, M; Rahman, M; Bangali, A M; Das, S; Barends, M; et al. (Elsevier, 2005-10)
      Bangladesh faces growing levels of Plasmodium falciparum resistance to chloroquine (CQ) and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP). Alternative antimalarial therapies, particularly combination regimens, need to be considered. Therefore, the efficacy of three antimalarial combination therapies was assessed in Chittagong Hill Tracts. A total of 364 P. falciparum patients were recruited and randomly assigned to either CQ + SP, mefloquine + artesunate (MQ + AS) or lumefantrine + artemether (Coartem). Results showed that CQ + SP therapy was less effective than the two artemisinin-based combination therapies. The day 42 PCR-corrected efficacy rate was 62.4% for CQ + SP, 100% for MQ + AS and 97.1% for Coartem. Failures occurred at a shorter interval after CQ + SP treatment than after Coartem. The artemisinin-based therapies effectively prevented development of gametocytes, whereas CQ + SP did not. All three therapies were well tolerated, although reports of mild complaints during treatment appeared higher with MQ + AS. We conclude that CQ + SP is not a viable option for replacing CQ monotherapy as first-line P. falciparum treatment in this area of Bangladesh. A change to artemisinin-based combination therapy is recommended. Both Coartem and MQ + AS appear to be good options, effective in curing P. falciparum malaria and in preventing recrudescences following treatment.
    • Efficacy of three artemisinin combination therapies for the treatment of uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria in the Republic of Congo.

      van den Broek, I; Kitz, C; Al Attas, S; Libama, F; Balasegaram, M; Guthmann, J P; Médecins sans Frontières, London, UK. ingrid.van.den.broek@rivm.nl <ingrid.van.den.broek@rivm.nl> (BioMed Central, 2006)
      BACKGROUND: Presented here are the results of a comparative trial on the efficacy of three artemisinin-based combinations conducted from May to October 2004, in Pool Province, Republic of Congo. METHODS: The main outcome was the proportion of cases of true treatment success at day 28. Recrudescences were distinguished from re-infections by PCR analysis. A total of 298 children of 6-59 months were randomized to receive either artesunate + SP (AS+SP), artesunate + amodiaquine (AS+AQ) or artemether + lumefantrine (AL), of which 15 (5%) were lost to follow-up. RESULTS: After 28 days, there were 21/85 (25%) recurrent parasitaemias in the AS+SP group, 31/97 (32%) in the AS+AQ group and 13/100 (13%) in the AL group. The 28-day PCR-corrected cure rate was 90.1% [95% CI 80.7-95.9] for AS+SP, 98.5% [95% CI 92.0-100] for AS+AQ and 100% [95.8-100] for AL, thereby revealing a weaker response to AS+SP than to AL (p = 0.003) and to AS+AQ (p = 0.06). A potential bias was the fact that children treated with AL were slightly older and in better clinical condition, but logistic regression did not identify these as relevant factors. There was no significant difference between groups in fever and parasite clearance time, improvement of anaemia and gametocyte carriage at day 28. No serious adverse events were reported. CONCLUSION: Considering the higher efficacy of AL as compared to AS+SP and the relatively high proportion of cases with re-infections in the AS+AQ group, we conclude that AL is clinically more effective than AS+SP and AS+AQ in this area of the Republic of Congo. Implementation of the recently chosen new national first-line AS+AQ should be monitored closely.
    • Efficacy of two artemisinin combination therapies for uncomplicated falciparum malaria in children under 5 years, Malakal, Upper Nile, Sudan.

      van den Broek, I; Amsalu, R; Balasegaram, M; Hepple, P; Alemu, E; Hussein, E B; Al-Faith, M; Montgomery, J; Checchi, F; Manson's Unit, MSF -UK, 67-74 Saffron Hill, London EC1N, UK. ingrid.van.den.broek@london.msf.org (BioMed Central, 2005)
      BACKGROUND: The treatment for Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Sudan has been in process of change since 2003. Preceding the change, this study aimed to determine which artemisinin-based combination therapies is more effective to treat uncomplicated malaria in Malakal, Upper Nile, Sudan. METHODS: Clinical trial to assess the efficacy of 2 antimalarial therapies to treat P. falciparum infections in children aged 6-59 months, in a period of 42 days after treatment. RESULTS: A total of 269 children were followed up to 42 days. Artesunate plus Sulfadoxine/Pyrimethamine (AS+SP) and Artesunate plus Amodiaquine (AS+AQ) were both found to be efficacious in curing malaria infections by rapid elimination of parasites and clearance of fever, in preventing recrudescence and suppressing gametocytaemia. The combination of AS+SP appeared slightly more efficacious than AS+AQ, with 4.4% (4/116) versus 15% (17/113) of patients returning with malaria during the 6-week period after treatment (RR = 0.9, 95% CI 0.81-0.96). PCR analysis identified only one recrudescence which, together with one other early treatment failure, gave efficacy rates of 99.0% for AS+AQ (96/97) and 99.1% for AS+SP (112/113). However, PCR results were incomplete and assuming part of the indeterminate samples were recrudescent infections leads to an estimated efficacy ranging 97-98% for AS+SP and 88-95% for AS+AQ. CONCLUSION: These results lead to the recommendation of ACT, and specifically AS+SP, for the treatment of uncomplicated falciparum malaria in this area of Sudan. When implemented, ACT efficacy should be monitored in sentinel sites representing different areas of the country.
    • Evaluation of Three Rapid Tests for Diagnosis of P. Falciparum and P. Vivax Malaria in Colombia.

      van den Broek, I; Hill, O; Gordillo, F; Angarita, B; Hamade, P; Counihan, H; Guthmann, J P; Médecins sans Frontières (MSF), London, UK. ingrid_vandenbroek@yahoo.com (2006-12)
      The diagnostic capacity of three malaria rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs), NOW-Malaria-ICT, OptiMAL-IT, and Paracheck-Pf, was evaluated against expert microscopy in Colombia. We tested 896 patients, of whom microscopy confirmed 139 P. falciparum, 279 P. vivax, and 13 mixed P.f/P.v infections and 465 negatives. Paracheck-Pf and NOW-malaria-ICT were more accurate in detecting P. falciparum (sensitivities 90.8% and 90.1%, respectively) in comparison with Optimal-IT (83.6%). NOW showed an acceptable Pf detection rate at low densities (< 500/microL), but resulted in a higher proportion of false positives. For P. vivax diagnosis, Optimal-IT had a higher sensitivity than NOW (91.0% and 81.4%, respectively). The choice between the two Pf/Pv detecting RDTs balances P. falciparum and P. vivax detection rates. Considering some degree of P. falciparum overtreatment and failure to detect all P. vivax cases as more acceptable than missing some cases of P. falciparum, we recommend careful implementation of NOW-malaria-ICT in areas where microscopy is lacking. The price is however still a constraint.
    • Geographical distribution of selected and putatively neutral SNPs in Southeast Asian malaria parasites.

      Anderson, T J C; Nair, S; Sudimack, D; Williams, J T; Mayxay, M; Newton, P N; Guthmann, J P; Smithuis, F M; Tran, T H; van den Broek, I; et al. (2005-12)
      Loci targeted by directional selection are expected to show elevated geographical population structure relative to neutral loci, and a flurry of recent papers have used this rationale to search for genome regions involved in adaptation. Studies of functional mutations that are known to be under selection are particularly useful for assessing the utility of this approach. Antimalarial drug treatment regimes vary considerably between countries in Southeast Asia selecting for local adaptation at parasite loci underlying resistance. We compared the population structure revealed by 10 nonsynonymous mutations (nonsynonymous single-nucleotide polymorphisms [nsSNPs]) in four loci that are known to be involved in antimalarial drug resistance, with patterns revealed by 10 synonymous mutations (synonymous single-nucleotide polymorphisms [sSNPs]) in housekeeping genes or genes of unknown function in 755 Plasmodium falciparum infections collected from 13 populations in six Southeast Asian countries. Allele frequencies at known nsSNPs underlying resistance varied markedly between locations (F(ST) = 0.18-0.66), with the highest frequencies on the Thailand-Burma border and the lowest frequencies in neighboring Lao PDR. In contrast, we found weak but significant geographic structure (F(ST) = 0-0.14) for 8 of 10 sSNPs. Importantly, all 10 nsSNPs showed significantly higher F(ST) (P < 8 x 10(-5)) than simulated neutral expectations based on observed F(ST) values in the putatively neutral sSNPs. This result was unaffected by the methods used to estimate allele frequencies or the number of populations used in the simulations. Given that dense single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) maps and rapid SNP assay methods are now available for P. falciparum, comparing genetic differentiation across the genome may provide a valuable aid to identifying parasite loci underlying local adaptation to drug treatment regimes or other selective forces. However, the high proportion of polymorphic sites that appear to be under balancing selection (or linked to selected sites) in the P. falciparum genome violates the central assumption that selected sites are rare, which complicates identification of outlier loci, and suggests that caution is needed when using this approach.
    • Paracheck-Pf accuracy and recently treated Plasmodium falciparum infections: is there a risk of over-diagnosis?

      Swarthout, T D; Counihan, H; Senga, R K K; van den Broek, I; Médecins Sans Frontières, London, UK. toddswarth@yahoo.com (Elsevier, 2007)
      BACKGROUND: An assessment of the accuracy of Paracheck Pf, a malaria rapid diagnostic test (RDT) detecting histidine rich protein 2 was undertaken amongst children aged 6-59 months in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. METHODS: This RDT assessment occurred in conjunction with an ACT efficacy trial. Febrile children were simultaneously screened with both RDT and high quality microscopy and those meeting inclusion criteria were followed for 35 days. RESULTS: 358 febrile children were screened with 180 children recruited for five weeks follow-up. On screening, the RDT accurately diagnosed all 235 true malaria cases, indicating 100% RDT sensitivity. Of the 123 negative slides, the RDT gave 59 false-positive results, indicating 52.0% (64/123) RDT specificity. During follow-up after treatment with an artemisinin-based combination therapy, 98.2% (110/112), 94.6% (106/112), 92.0% (103/112) and 73.5% (50/68) of effectively treated children were still false-positive by RDT at days 14, 21, 28 and 35, respectively. CONCLUSION: Results show that though the use of Paracheck-Pf is as sensitive as microscopy in detecting true malaria cases, a low specificity did present a high frequency of false-positive RDT results. What's more, a duration of RDT false-positivity was found that significantly surpassed the 'fortnight' after effective treatment reported by its manufacturer. Though further research is needed in assessing RDT accuracy, study results showing the presence of frequent false positivity should be taken into consideration to avoid clinicians inappropriately focusing on malaria, not identifying the true cause of illness, and providing unnecessary treatment.
    • Short Report: Association Between Chloroquine and Amodiaquine Resistance and Allelic Variation in the Plasmodium Falciparum Multiple Drug Resistance 1 Gene and the Chloroquine Resistance Transporter Gene in Isolates from the Upper Nile in Southern Sudan.

      Ochong, E; van den Broek, I; Keus, K; Nzila, A; Kenya Medical Research Institute, Wellcome Trust Collaborative Program, Médecins sans Frontières-Holland, South Sudan Section, Nairobi, Kenya. (Published by: American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 2003-08)
      Amodiaquine, a 4-aminoquinoline compound, is being considered as an alternative to chloroquine and pyrimethamine/sulfadoxine where resistance in Plasmodium falciparum to both drugs has been selected. Although amodiaquine is more potent than chloroquine, its effectiveness is reduced in areas where chloroquine resistance is high. We report an association of the P. falciparum chloroquine resistance transporter (pfcrt) gene and the P. falciparum multiple drug resistance 1 (pfmdr1) gene, two chloroquine resistance markers, with chloroquine and amodiaquine efficacy in vivo in southern Sudan. The data show that the allele of the pfcrt gene with a lysine to threonine change at codon 76 is strongly associated with both chloroquine and amodiaquine resistance. No such association was observed with the pfmdr1 gene.