• Antimalarial efficacy of chloroquine, amodiaquine, sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine, and the combinations of amodiaquine + artesunate and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine + artesunate in Huambo and Bie provinces, central Angola.

      Guthmann, J P; Ampuero, J; Fortes, F; Van Overmeir, C; Gaboulaud, V; Tobback, S; Dunand, J; Saraiva, N; Gillet, P; Franco, J; Denoncin, A; Van Herp, M; Balkan, S; Dujardin, J C C; D'Alessandro, U; Legros, D; Epicentre, 42 bis, Boulevard Richard Lenoir, 75011 Paris, France. jguthmann@epicentre.msf.org (Elsevier, 2005-07)
      We studied three antimalarial treatments in Caala and Kuito, Angola, in 2002 and 2003. We tested chloroquine (CQ), amodiaquine (AQ) and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) in Caala, and AQ, SP and the combinations AQ+artesunate (AQ+AS) and SP+artesunate (SP+AS) in Kuito. A total of 619 children (240 in Caala, 379 in Kuito) with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria were followed-up for 28 days, with PCR genotyping to distinguish recrudescence from reinfection. PCR-corrected failure proportions at day 28 were very high in the CQ group (83.5%, 95% CI 74.1-90.5), high in the SP groups (Caala: 25.3%, 95% CI 16.7-35.8; Kuito: 38.8%, 95% CI 28.4-50.0), around 20% in the AQ groups (Caala: 17.3%, 95% CI 10.0-27.2; Kuito: 21.6%, 95% CI 14.3-30.6) and very low in the artemisinin-based combination groups (1.2%, 95% CI 0.0-6.4 for each combination AQ+AS and SP+AS). These results show that CQ and SP are no longer efficacious in Caala and Kuito and that the moderate efficacy of AQ is likely to be compromised in the short term if used as monotherapy. We recommend the use of AQ with AS, though this combination might not have a long useful therapeutic life because of AQ resistance.
    • Antimalarial efficacy of sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine, amodiaquine and a combination of chloroquine plus sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine in Bundi Bugyo, western Uganda.

      Checchi, F; Piola, P; Kosack, C; Ardizzoni, E; Klarkowski, D; Kwezi, E; Priotto, G; Balkan, S; Bakyaita, N; Brockman, A; Guthmann, J P; Epicentre, Paris, France. fchecci@epicentre.msf.org (Wiley-Blackwell, 2004-04)
      We report below an in vivo antimalarial efficacy study conducted in 2002 in Bundi Bugyo, a district of western Uganda housing a large displaced population. We tested sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP), amodiaquine (AQ) and the combination chloroquine plus SP (CQ + SP). A total of 268 children with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria were followed-up for 28 days according to WHO recommendations, with PCR genotyping to distinguish late recrudescences from re-infections. PCR-adjusted failure proportions at day 28 were 37.0% (34/92, 95% CI 27.1-47.7) in the SP group, 20.6% (14/68, 95% CI 11.7-32.1) in the AQ group and 22.8% (18/79, 95% CI 14.1-33.6) in the CQ + SP group. Early failures were particularly frequent in the SP group (15.2%). Clearance of gametocytes was slower in the SP and CQ + SP groups than in the AQ group. This study suggests that, in Bundi Bugyo, CQ + SP (Uganda's first-line regimen) will need to be replaced by a more efficacious regimen. Across Uganda, the deployment of SP containing combinations may not be a feasible long-term strategy. For Bundi Bugyo, we recommend a combination of artesunate and AQ. Our study also confirms previous findings that resistance is considerably underestimated by 14-day follow-ups. Antimalarial policy decisions should therefore be based on 28-day studies, with PCR adjustment to distinguish re-infections.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Community coverage of an antimalarial combination of artesunate and amodiaquine in Makamba Province, Burundi, nine months after its introduction.

      Gerstl, S; Cohuet, S; Edoh, K; Brasher, C; Lesage, A; Guthmann, J P; Checchi, F; Epicentre, Paris, France. sibylle.gerstl@epicentre.msf.org (BioMed Central, 2007)
      BACKGROUND: In 2003, artesunate-amodiaquine (AS+AQ) was introduced as the new first-line treatment for uncomplicated malaria in Burundi. After confirmed diagnosis, treatment was delivered at subsidized prices in public health centres. Nine months after its implementation a study was carried out to assess whether children below five years of age with uncomplicated malaria were actually receiving AS+AQ. METHODS: A community-based study was conducted in Makamba province. Randomly selected households containing one or more children under five with reported fever onset within fourteen days before the study date were eligible. Case-management information was collected based on caregiver recall. A case definition of symptomatic malaria from observations of children presenting a confirmed malaria episode on the day of the survey was developed. Based on this definition, those children who had probable malaria among those with fever onset in the 14 days prior to the study were identified retrospectively. Treatment coverage with AS+AQ was then estimated among these probable malaria cases. RESULTS: Out of 195 children with fever on the day of the study, 92 were confirmed as true malaria cases and 103 tested negative. The combination of 'loss of appetite', 'sweating', 'shivering' and 'intermittent fever' yielded the highest possible positive predictive value, and was chosen as the case definition of malaria. Out of 526 children who had had fever 14 days prior to the survey, 165 (31.4%) were defined as probable malaria cases using this definition. Among them, 20 (14.1%) had been treated with AS+AQ, 10 with quinine (5%), 68 (41%) received non-malaria treatments, and 67 got traditional treatment or nothing (39.9%). Most people sought treatment from public health centres (23/99) followed by private clinics (15/99, 14.1%). The median price paid for AS+AQ was 0.5 US$. CONCLUSION: AS+AQ was the most common treatment for patients with probable malaria at public health centres, but coverage was low due to low health centre utilisation and apparently inappropriate prescribing. In addition, AS+AQ was given to patients at a price ten times higher than the subsidized price. The availability and proper use of ACTs should be monitored and maximized after their introduction in order to have a significant impact on the burden of malaria.
    • Efficacy of amodiaquine in uncomplicated falciparum malaria in Nigeria in an area with high-level resistance to chloroquine and sulphadoxine/pyrimethamine.

      Graupner, J; Göbels, K; Grobusch, M P; Lund, A; Richter, J; Häussinger, D; Medecins sans Frontières (MSF), Max Euweplein 40, 1001, EA, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. (2005-06)
      Falciparum Malaria is hyperendemic in southern Nigeria and chloroquine resistance is an increasing problem. Therefore, the parasitological and haematological response to treatment with amodiaquine was studied in children under 5 years during a 14-day follow-up. Of 105 children who accomplished the study (out of 114 who were enrolled), 95.3% were parasite-negative on thick blood film on day 7, which decreased to 89.5% on day 14. The haemoglobin levels increased on average by 1.3% on day 14 (+/-1.9) and more pronounced in children with anaemia<10 g/dl on enrollment. The number of patients with adverse events (mainly pruritus and nausea) was few. This study shows that amodiaquine is effective, safe and affordable in an area with high resistance to chloroquine.
    • Efficacy of antimalarial treatment in Guinea: in vivo study of two artemisinin combination therapies in Dabola and molecular markers of resistance to sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine in N'Zérékoré.

      Bonnet, M; Roper, C; Félix, M; Coulibaly, L; Kankolongo, G M; Guthmann, J P; Epicentre, 8, Paris, France. maryline.bonnet@geneva.msf.org (BioMed Central, 2007)
      BACKGROUND: In the last five years, countries have been faced with changing their malaria treatment policy to an artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT), many with no national data on which to base their decision. This is particularly true for a number of West African countries, including Guinea, where these studies were performed. Two studies were conducted in 2004/2005 in programmes supported by Medecins Sans Frontieres, when chloroquine was still national policy, but artesunate (AS)/sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) had been used in refugee camps for two years. METHODS: In Dabola (central Guinea), 220 children aged 6-59 months with falciparum malaria were randomized to receive either AS/amodiaquine (AQ) or AS/SP. In vivo efficacy was assessed following the 2003 World Health Organization guidelines. In a refugee camp in Laine (south of Guinea), where an in vivo study was not feasible due to the unstable context, a molecular genotyping study in 160 patients assessed the prevalence of mutations in the dihydrofolate reductase (dhfr) (codons 108, 51, 59) and dihydropteroate synthase (dhps) (codons 436, 437, 540) genes of Plasmodium falciparum, which have been associated with resistance to pyrimethamine and sulphadoxine, respectively. RESULTS: In Dabola, after 28 days of follow-up, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)-adjusted failure rates were 1.0% (95%CI 0-5.3) for AS/AQ and 1.0% (95%CI 0-5.5) for AS/SP. In the refugee camp in Laine, the molecular genotyping study found three dhfr mutations in 85.6% (95%CI 79.2-90.7) patients and quintuple dhfr/dhps mutations in 9.6% (95%CI 5.2-15.9). CONCLUSION: Both AS/AQ and AS/SP are highly efficacious in Dabola, whereas there is molecular evidence of established SP resistance in Laine. This supports the choice of the national programme of Guinea to adopt AS/AQ as first line antimalarial treatment. The results highlight the difficulties faced by control programmes, which have gone through the upheaval of implementing ACTs, but cannot predict how long their therapeutic life will be, especially in countries which have chosen drugs also available as monotherapies.
    • Efficacy of chloroquine, sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine and amodiaquine for treatment of uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria among children under five in Bongor and Koumra, Chad.

      Grandesso, F; Bachy, C; Donam, I; Ntambi, J; Habimana, J; D'Alessandro, U; Maikere, J; Vanlerberghe, V; Kerah, C H; Guthmann, J P; Epicentre, 8 Rue Saint Sabin, 75011 Paris, France. francesco.grandesso@epicentre.msf.org (Elsevier, 2006-05)
      We report two 28-day in-vivo antimalarial efficacy studies carried out in the urban centres of Bongor and Koumra, southern Chad. We assess chloroquine (CQ), sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) and amodiaquine (AQ) to treat Plasmodium falciparum uncomplicated malaria. Methods and outcome classification complied with latest WHO guidelines. Out of the 301 and 318 children aged 6-59 months included in Bongor and Koumra, respectively, 246 (81.7%) and 257 (80.8%) were eligible for analysis. In Bongor and Koumra, the 28-day PCR-adjusted failure rates for CQ were 23.7% (95% CI 14.7-34.8%) and 32.9% (95% CI 22.1-45.1%), respectively, and those for SP were 16.3% (95% CI 9.4-25.5%) and 4.3% (95% CI 1.2-10.5%). AQ failure rates were 6.4% (95% CI 2.1-14.3%) and 2.2% (95% CI 0.3-7.6%). The current use of CQ in Bongor and Koumra is questionable, and a more efficacious treatment is needed. Considering the reduced efficacy of SP in Bongor, AQ seems to be the best option for the time being. Following WHO recommendations that prioritize the use of artemisinin-based combinations, artesunate plus amodiaquine could be a potential first-line treatment. Nevertheless, the efficacy of this combination should be evaluated and the change carefully prepared, implemented and monitored.
    • Efficacy of chloroquine, sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine and amodiaquine for treatment of uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Kajo Keji county, Sudan.

      Stivanello, E; Cavailler, P; Cassano, F; Omar, S A; Kariuki, D; Mwangi, J; Piola, P; Guthmann, J P; Médecins Sans Frontières, Geneva, Switzerland. elisasti@tin.it (Wiley-Blackwell, 2004-09)
      To provide advice on the rational use of antimalarial drugs, Médecins Sans Frontières conducted a randomized, an open label efficacy study in Kajo Keji, an area of high transmission of malaria in southern Sudan. The efficacy of chloroquine (CQ), sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) and amodiaquine (AQ) were measured in a 28-day in vivo study, with results corrected by PCR genotyping. Of 2010 children screened, 115 children aged 6-59 months with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria were randomized into each group to receive a supervised course of treatment. Of these, 114, 103 and 111 were analysed in the CQ, SP and AQ groups, respectively. The overall parasitological failure rates at day 28 were 93.9% [95% confidence interval (CI) 87.3-97.3] for CQ, 69.9% (95% CI 60.0-78.3) for SP, and 25.2% (95% CI 17.7-34.5) for AQ. These results provide important missing data on antimalarial drug efficacy in southern Sudan. They indicate that none of the drugs could be used in monotherapy and suggest that even in combination with artemisinin, cure rates might not be efficacious enough. We recommend a combination of artemether and lumefantrine as first-line treatment for uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria cases in Kajo Keji county.
    • 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.
    • Evidence basis for antimalarial policy change in Sierra Leone: five in vivo efficacy studies of chloroquine, sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine and amodiaquine.

      Checchi, F; Roddy, P; Kamara, S; Williams, A; Morineau, G; Wurie, A R; Hora, B; Lamotte, N; Baerwaldt, T; Heinzelmann, A; Danks, A; Pinoges, L; Oloo, A; Durand, R; Ranford-Cartwright, L; Smet, M; Epicentre, 8 rue Saint-Sabin, 75011 Paris, France. francesco.checchi@lshtm.ac.uk (Wiley-Blackwell, 2005-02)
      OBJECTIVES: To provide nationally relevant information on the antimalarial efficacy of chloroquine (CQ), sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) and amodiaquine (AQ) in Sierra Leone, with a view to updating antimalarial policy in the country. METHODS: Between October 2002 and May 2003, standard WHO methodology for in vivo efficacy assessment was used in five sites to study the therapeutic response of 6-59 months old uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria cases treated with CQ (n = 247), SP (n = 353) or AQ (n = 434). Follow-up was of 28 days, with polymerase chain reaction genotyping to distinguish late recrudescences from re-infections. RESULTS: Overall 85.3% of patients reached an analysable endpoint. CQ failure proportions were very high, ranging from 39.5% (95% CI: 25.0-55.6) in Kabala to 78.8% (65.3-88.9) in Kailahun. Early failures under CQ were frequent. SP efficacy was also disappointing, with failure from 23.2% (13.9-34.9) in Kabala to 46.1% (35.4-57.0) in Kailahun. AQ resistance was more moderate, ranging from 5.4% (1.8-12.1) in Makeni to 29.8% (20.3-40.8) in Kailahun, with almost no early failures. AQ also provided more rapid fever and parasite clearance. CONCLUSION: In a consensus meeting organized by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, and based on these findings, artesunate (AS) + AQ and artemether-lumefantrine (Coartemtrade mark) were identified as the only options to rapidly replace CQ. The choice fell on AS + AQ because of expected high efficacy, lower cost in a blister presentation, and the absence of safety data on artemether-lumefantrine in pregnancy. Donor support is required to support this policy change. Throughout Africa, as SP resistance increases, these two regimens are probably the only options available while newer combinations are developed. Efficacy studies should focus on testing AQ and AS + AQ.
    • High Efficacy of Two Artemisinin-Based Combinations (Artesunate + Amodiaquine and Artemether + Lumefantrine) in Caala, Central Angola.

      Guthmann, J P; Cohuet, S; Rigutto, C; Fortes, F; Saraiva, N; Kiguli, J; Kyomuhendo, J; Francis, M; Noël, F; Mulemba, M; Balkan, S; Epicentre, Paris, France; Médecins Sans Frontières, Paris, France. jguthmann@epicentre.msf.org (Published by: American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 2006-07)
      In April 2004, 137 children 6-59 months of age with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) malaria (Caala, Central Angola) were randomized to receive either artemether-lumefantrine (Coartem) or artesunate + amodiaquine (ASAQ). After 28 days of follow-up, there were 2/61 (3.2%) recurrent parasitemias in the Coartem group and 4/64 (6.2%) in the ASAQ group (P = 0.72), all classified as re-infections after PCR genotyping (cure rate = 100% [95%CI: 94-100] in both groups). Only one patient (ASAQ group) had gametocytes on day 28 versus five (Coartem) and three (ASAQ) at baseline. Compared with baseline, anemia was significantly improved after 28 days of follow-up in both groups (Coartem: from 54.1% to 13.4%; ASAQ: from 53.1% to 15.9%). Our findings are in favor of a high efficacy of both combinations in Caala. Now that Coartem has been chosen as the new first-line anti-malarial, the challenge is to insure that this drug is available and adequately used.
    • Low efficacy of the combination artesunate plus amodiaquine for uncomplicated falciparum malaria among children under 5 years in Kailahun, Sierra Leone.

      Grandesso, F; Hagerman, A; Kamara, S; Lam, E; Checchi, F; Balkan, S; Scollo, G; Durand, R; Guthmann, J P; Epicentre, Paris, France. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2006-07)
      OBJECTIVE: In 2004, Sierra Leone adopted artesunate plus amodiaquine as first-line antimalarial treatment. We evaluated the efficacy of this combination in Kailahun, where a previous study had shown 70.2% efficacy of amodiaquine in monotherapy. METHODS: Method and outcome classification of the study complied with WHO guidelines. Children 6-59 months with uncomplicated malaria were followed-up for 28 days. PCR genotyping was used to distinguish recrudescence from reinfection. Reinfections were reclassified as cured. RESULTS: Of 172 children who were referred to the study clinic, 126 satisfied inclusion criteria and were enrolled. No early treatment failures were reported. The day 14, efficacy was 98.2% (95% CI: 93.8-99.8). Of 65 recurrent parasitaemias analysed by PCR, 17 were recrudescences. The PCR-adjusted day 28 efficacy was 84.5% (95% CI: 76.4-90.7). All true failures occurred in the last 8 days of follow-up. Of 110 children who completed the 28-day follow-up, 54 (49.1%) experienced a novel infection. CONCLUSION: The efficacy of this combination was disappointing. The high reinfection rate suggested little prophylactic effect. In Kailahun a more efficacious combination might be necessary in the future. The efficacy of AS + AQ needs to be monitored in Kailahun and in the other regions of Sierra Leone.
    • Malaria in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan: baseline genotypic resistance and efficacy of the artesunate plus sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine and artesunate plus amodiaquine combinations.

      Hamour, S; Melaku, Y; Keus, K; Wambugu, J; Atkin, S; Montgomery, J; Ford, N; Hook, C; Checchi, F; Médecins Sans Frontières, Plantage Middenlaan 14, 1018 DD Amsterdam, The Netherlands. (Elsevier, 2005-07)
      Both northern and southern Sudan are deploying artemisinin-based combinations against uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria (artesunate+sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine [AS+SP] in the north, artesunate+amodiaquine [AS+AQ] in the south). In 2003, we tested the efficacy of 3 day AS+SP and AS+AQ regimens in vivo in the isolated, seasonally endemic Nuba Mountains region (the first study of AS combinations in southern Sudan). We also analysed pre-treatment blood samples for mutations at the P. falciparum chloroquine transporter (Pfcrt) gene (associated with CQ resistance), and at the dihydrofolate reductase (Dhfr) gene (associated with pyrimethamine resistance). Among 161 randomized children under 5 years, PCR-corrected cure rates after 28 days were 91.2% (52/57, 95% CI 80.7-97.1) for AS+SP and 92.7% (51/55, 95% CI 82.4-98.0) for AS+AQ, with equally rapid parasite and fever clearance. The Pfcrt K76T mutation occurred in 90.0% (144/160) of infections, suggesting CQ would work poorly in this region. Overall, 82.5% (132/160) carried mutations at Dhfr (N51I, C59R or S108N, but not I164L), but triple mutants (more predictive of in vivo SP failure) were rare (3.1%). CQ use should be rapidly discontinued in this region. SP resistance may propagate rapidly, and AS+AQ is likely to be a better long-term option, provided AQ use is limited to the combination.
    • Methodological Issues in the Assessment of Antimalarial Drug Treatment: Analysis of 13 Studies in Eight African Countries from 2001 to 2004.

      Guthmann, J P; Pinoges, L; Checchi, F; Cousens, S; Balkan, S; Van Herp, M; Legros, D; Olliaro, P; Epicentre, 8 rue Saint Sabin, 75011 Paris, France. jguthmann@epicentre.msf.org (Published by American Society for Microbiology, 2006-11)
      The objectives of these analyses were to assess the feasibility of the latest WHO recommendations (28-day follow-up with PCR genotyping) for the assessment of antimalarial drug efficacy in vivo and to examine how different statistical approaches affect results. We used individual-patient data from 13 studies of uncomplicated pediatric falciparum malaria conducted in sub-Saharan Africa, using chloroquine (CQ), sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine (SP), or amodiaquine (AQ). We assessed the use effectiveness and test performance of PCR genotyping in distinguishing recurrent infections. In analyzing data, we compared (i) the risk of failure on target days (days 14 and 28) by using Kaplan-Meier and per-protocol evaluable patient analyses, (ii) PCR-corrected results allowing (method 1) or excluding (method 2) new infections, (iii) and day 14 versus day 28 results. Of the 2,576 patients treated, 2,287 (89%) were evaluable on day 28. Of the 695 recurrences occurring post-day 14, 650 could be processed and 584 were resolved (PCR use effectiveness, 84%; test performance, 90%). The risks of failure on day 28 with Kaplan-Meier and evaluable-patient analyses tended to be generally close (except in smaller studies) because the numbers of dropouts were minimal, but attrition rates on day 28 were higher with the latter method. Method 2 yielded higher risks of failure than method 1. Extending observation to 28 days produced higher estimated risks of failure for SP and AQ but not for CQ (high failure rates by day 14). Results support the implementation of the current WHO protocol and favor analyzing PCR-corrected outcomes by Kaplan-Meier analysis (which allows for dropouts) and retaining new infections (which minimizes losses).
    • Operational response to malaria epidemics: are rapid diagnostic tests cost-effective?

      Rolland, E; Checchi, F; Pinoges, L; Balkan, S; Guthmann, J P; Guerin, P J; Epicentre, Paris, France. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2006-04)
      OBJECTIVE: To compare the cost-effectiveness of malaria treatment based on presumptive diagnosis with that of malaria treatment based on rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs). METHODS: We calculated direct costs (based on experience from Ethiopia and southern Sudan) and effectiveness (in terms of reduced over-treatment) of a free, decentralised treatment programme using artesunate plus amodiaquine (AS + AQ) or artemether-lumefantrine (ART-LUM) in a Plasmodium falciparum epidemic. Our main cost-effectiveness measure was the incremental cost per false positive treatment averted by RDTs. RESULTS: As malaria prevalence increases, the difference in cost between presumptive and RDT-based treatment rises. The threshold prevalence above which the RDT-based strategy becomes more expensive is 21% in the AS + AQ scenario and 55% in the ART-LUM scenario, but these thresholds increase to 58 and 70%, respectively, if the financing body tolerates an incremental cost of 1 euro per false positive averted. However, even at a high (90%) prevalence of malaria consistent with an epidemic peak, an RDT-based strategy would only cost moderately more than the presumptive strategy: +29.9% in the AS + AQ scenario and +19.4% in the ART-LUM scenario. The treatment comparison is insensitive to the age and pregnancy distribution of febrile cases, but is strongly affected by variation in non-biomedical costs. If their unit price were halved, RDTs would be more cost-effective at a malaria prevalence up to 45% in case of AS + AQ treatment and at a prevalence up to 68% in case of ART-LUM treatment. CONCLUSION: In most epidemic prevalence scenarios, RDTs would considerably reduce over-treatment for only a moderate increase in costs over presumptive diagnosis. A substantial decrease in RDT unit price would greatly increase their cost-effectiveness, and should thus be advocated. A tolerated incremental cost of 1 euro is probably justified given overall public health and financial benefits. The RDTs should be considered for malaria epidemics if logistics and human resources allow.
    • 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.
    • Varying efficacy of artesunate+amodiaquine and artesunate+sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine for the treatment of uncomplicated falciparum malaria in the Democratic Republic of Congo: a report of two in-vivo studies

      Bonnet, Maryline; Broek, Ingrid van den; van Herp, Michel; Urrutia, Pedro Pablo Palma; van Overmeir, Chantal; Kyomuhendo, Juliet; Ndosimao, Célestin Nsibu; Ashley, Elizabeth; Guthmann, Jean-Paul; Epicentre, Geneva, Switzerland; Epicentre, Paris, France; Center for Infectious Disease Control, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, the Netherlands; Médecins Sans Frontières, Brussels, Belgium; Médecins Sans Frontières, Barcelona, Spain; Prince Leopold Institute of Tropical Medicine, Department of Parasitology, Antwerp, Belgium; Mbarara University of Science and Technology, Mbarara, Uganda; National Malaria Control Programme, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo; Unité des Maladies à Prévention Vaccinale, Département des Maladies Infectieuses, Institut de Veille Sanitaire, Saint-Maurice cedex, France (2009-10-08)
      BACKGROUND: Very few data on anti-malarial efficacy are available from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). DRC changed its anti-malarial treatment policy to amodiaquine (AQ) and artesunate (AS) in 2005. METHODS: The results of two in vivo efficacy studies, which tested AQ and sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) monotherapies and AS+SP and AS+AQ combinations in Boende (Equatorial province), and AS+SP, AS+AQ and SP in Kabalo (Katanga province), between 2003 and 2004 are presented. The methodology followed the WHO 2003 protocol for assessing the efficacy of anti-malarials in areas of high transmission. RESULTS: Out of 394 included patients in Boende, the failure rates on day 28 after PCR-genotyping adjustment of AS+SP and AS+AQ were estimated as 24.6% [95% CI: 16.6-35.5] and 15.1% [95% CI: 8.6-25.7], respectively. For the monotherapies, failure rates were 35.9% [95% CI: 27.0-46.7] for SP and 18.3% [95% CI: 11.6-28.1] for AQ. Out of 207 patients enrolled in Kabalo, the failure rate on day 28 after PCR-genotyping adjustment was 0 [1-sided 95% CI: 5.8] for AS+SP and AS+AQ [1-sided 95% CI: 6.2]. It was 19.6% [95% CI: 11.4-32.7] for SP monotherapy. CONCLUSION: The finding of varying efficacy of the same combinations at two sites in one country highlights one difficulty of implementing a uniform national treatment policy in a large country. The poor efficacy of AS+AQ in Boende should alert the national programme to foci of resistance and emphasizes the need for systems for the prospective monitoring of treatment efficacy at sentinel sites in the country.