• 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 and effectiveness of the combination of sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine and a 3-day course of artesunate for the treatment of uncomplicated falciparum malaria in a refugee settlement in Zambia.

      Depoortere, E; Guthmann, J P; Pressé, J; Sipilanyambe, N; Nkandu, E; Balkan, S; de Pécoulas, P E; Legros, D; Epicentre, 8 rue Saint Sabin, 75011 Paris, France. evelyn.depootere@brussels.msf.org (Wiley-Blackwell, 2005-02)
      In the Maheba Refugee Settlement, in the clinics supported by Medecins Sans Frontieres, all children aged up to 5 years with a confirmed diagnosis of uncomplicated falciparum malaria are treated with the combination of sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine (SP) and artesunate (AS). We compared the treatment's efficacy and effectiveness. Patients were randomized in order to receive the treatment supervised (efficacy) or unsupervised (effectiveness). Therapeutic response was determined after 28 days of follow up. The difference between recrudescence and re-infection was ascertained by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). We also assessed genetic markers associated to SP resistance (dhfr and dhps). Eighty-five patients received treatment under supervision and 84 received it unsupervised. On day 28, and after PCR adjustment, efficacy was found to be 83.5% (95% CI: 74.1-90.5), and effectiveness 63.4% (95% CI: 52.6-73.3) (P < 0.01). Point mutations on dhfr (108) and dhps (437) were found for 92.0% and 44.2% respectively of the PCR samples analysed. The significant difference in therapeutic response after supervised and unsupervised treatment intake can only be explained by insufficient patient adherence. When implementing new malaria treatment policies, serious investment in ensuring patient adherence is essential to ascertain the effectiveness of the new treatment schedules.
    • 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.
    • Short report: molecular markers associated with Plasmodium falciparum resistance to sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

      Cohuet, S; Bonnet, M; Van Herp, M; Van Overmeir, C; D'Alessandro, U; Guthmann, J P; Epicentre, Paris, France; Médecins Sans Frontières, Brussels, Belgium; Prince Leopold Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium. (2006-07)
      Sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) is the first line antimalarial treatment in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Using polymerase chain reaction, we assessed the prevalence of mutations in the dihydrofolate reductase (dhfr) (codons 108, 51, 59) and dihydropteroate synthase (dhps) (codons 437, 540) genes of Plasmodium falciparum, which have been associated with resistance to pyrimethamine and sulfadoxine, respectively. Four hundred seventy-four patients were sampled in Kilwa (N = 138), Kisangani (N = 112), Boende (N = 106), and Basankusu (N = 118). The proportion of triple mutations dhfr varied between sites but was always > 50%. The proportion of dhps double mutations was < 20%, with some sites as low as 0.9%. A quintuple mutation was present in 12.8% (16/125) samples in Kilwa; 11.9% (13/109) in Kisangani, 2.9% (3/102) in Boende, and 0.9% (1/112) in Basankusu. These results suggest high resistance to pyrimethamine alone or combined with sulfadoxine. Adding artesunate to SP does not seem a valid alternative to the current monotherapy.