• 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 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; et al. (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.
    • 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.
    • In vivo assessment of drug efficacy against Plasmodium falciparum malaria: duration of follow-up.

      Stepniewska, K; Taylor, W R J; Mayxay, M; Price, R; Smithuis, F; Guthmann, J P; Barnes, K; Myint, H Y; Adjuik, M; Olliaro, P; et al. (2004-11)
      To determine the optimum duration of follow-up for the assessment of drug efficacy against Plasmodium falciparum malaria, 96 trial arms from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) with follow-up of 28 days or longer that were conducted between 1990 and 2003 were analyzed. These trials enrolled 13,772 patients, and participating patients comprised 23% of all patients enrolled in RCTs over the past 40 years; 61 (64%) trial arms were conducted in areas where the rate of malaria transmission was low, and 58 (50%) trial arms were supported by parasite genotyping to distinguish true recrudescences from reinfections. The median overall failure rate reported was 10% (range, 0 to 47%). The widely used day 14 assessment had a sensitivity of between 0 and 37% in identifying treatment failures and had no predictive value. Assessment at day 28 had a sensitivity of 66% overall (28 to 100% in individual trials) but could be used to predict the true failure rate if either parasite genotyping was performed (r(2) = 0.94) or if the entomological inoculation rate was known. In the assessment of drug efficacy against falciparum malaria, 28 days should be the minimum period of follow-up.
    • 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.
    • 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).
    • Molecular genotyping in a malaria treatment trial in Uganda - unexpected high rate of new infections within 2 weeks after treatment.

      Mugittu, K; Priotto, G; Guthmann, J P; Kiguli, J; Adjuik, M; Snounou, G; Beck, H P; Mshinda, H; Olliaro, P; Taylor, W R J; et al. (2007-02)
      Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) genotyping of malaria parasites in drug efficacy trials helps differentiate reinfections from recrudescences. A combination therapy trial of one (n = 115) or three (n = 117) days artesunate (1AS, 3AS 4 mg/kg/day) plus sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) vs. SP alone (n = 153) was conducted in Mbarara, a mesoendemic area of western Uganda. All paired recurrent Plasmodium falciparum parasitaemias on days 7, 14, 21 and 28 post-treatment were genotyped by PCR amplification and analysis of glutamate-rich protein (glurp) and merozoite surface proteins (msp) 1 and 2 genes to distinguish recrudescent from new infections. A total of 156 (1AS = 61, 3AS = 35, SP alone = 60) of 199 paired recurrent samples were successfully analysed and were resolved as 79 recrudescences (1AS = 32, 3AS = 8, SP = 39) and 77 as new infections (1AS = 29, 3AS = 27, SP = 21). The ratios of proportions of new to recrudescent infections were 0.2, 0.9, 1.4 and 1.9 on days 7, 14, 21 and 28, respectively (P < 0.001, chi(2) test for linear trend). Unexpected high new infection rates were observed early in follow-up on days 7 [5/26 (19.2%)] and 14 [24/51 (47.1%)]. These results impact significantly on resistance monitoring and point to the value of genotyping all recurrent infections in antimalarial trials.
    • Plasmodium vivax resistance to chloroquine in Dawei, southern Myanmar.

      Guthmann, J P; Pittet, A; Lesage, A; Imwong, M; Lindegardh, N; Min Lwin, M; Zaw, T; Annerberg, A; de Radiguès, X; Nosten, F; et al. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2008-01)
      OBJECTIVE: To assess the efficacy of chloroquine in the treatment of Plasmodium vivax malaria in in Dawei District, southern Myanmar. METHODS: Enrolled patients at Sonsinphya clinic >6 months of age were assessed clinically and parasitologically every week for 28 days. To differentiate new infections from recrudescence, we genotyped pre- and post-treatment parasitaemia. Blood chloroquine was measured to confirm resistant strains. RESULTS: Between December 2002 and April 2003, 2661 patients were screened, of whom 252 were included and 235 analysed. Thirty-four per cent (95% CI: 28.1-40.6) of patients had recurrent parasitaemia and were considered treatment failures. 59.4% of these recurrences were with a different parasite strain. Two (0.8%) patients with recurrences on day 14 had chloroquine concentrations above the threshold of 100 ng/ml and were considered infected with chloroquine resistant parasites. 21% of failures occurred during the first 3 weeks of follow-up: early recurrence and median levels of blood chloroquine comparable to those of controls suggested P. vivax resistance. CONCLUSIONS: Plasmodium vivax resistance to chloroquine seems to be emerging in Dawei, near the Thai-Burmese border. While chloroquine remains the first-line drug for P. vivax infections in this area of Myanmar, regular monitoring is needed to detect further development of parasite resistance.
    • Selection strength and hitchhiking around two anti-malarial resistance genes.

      Nash, D; Nair, S; Mayxay, M; Newton, P N; Guthmann, J P; Nosten, F; Anderson, T J C; Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research (SFBR), San Antonio, TX 78245, USA. (2005-06-07)
      Neutral mutations may hitchhike to high frequency when they are situated close to sites under positive selection, generating local reductions in genetic diversity. This process is thought to be an important determinant of levels of genomic variation in natural populations. The size of genome regions affected by genetic hitchhiking is expected to be dependent on the strength of selection, but there is little empirical data supporting this prediction. Here, we compare microsatellite variation around two drug resistance genes (chloroquine resistance transporter (pfcrt), chromosome 7, and dihydrofolate reductase (dhfr), chromosome 4) in malaria parasite populations exposed to strong (Thailand) or weak selection (Laos) by anti-malarial drugs. In each population, we examined the point mutations underlying resistance and length variation at 22 (chromosome 4) or 25 (chromosome 7) microsatellite markers across these chromosomes. All parasites from Thailand carried the K76T mutation in pfcrt conferring resistance to chloroquine (CQ) and 2-4 mutations in dhfr conferring resistance to pyrimethamine. By contrast, we found both wild-type and resistant alleles at both genes in Laos. There were dramatic differences in the extent of hitchhiking in the two countries. The size of genome regions affected was smaller in Laos than in Thailand. We observed significant reduction in variation relative to sensitive parasites for 34-64 kb (2-4 cM) in Laos on chromosome 4, compared with 98-137 kb (6-8 cM) in Thailand. Similarly, on chromosome 7, we observed reduced variation for 34-69 kb (2-4 cM) around pfcrt in Laos, but for 195-268 kb (11-16 cM) in Thailand. Reduction in genetic variation was also less extreme in Laos than in Thailand. Most loci were monomorphic in a 12 kb region surrounding both genes on resistant chromosomes from Thailand, whereas in Laos, even loci immediately proximal to selective sites showed some variation on resistant chromosomes. Finally, linkage disequilibrium (LD) decayed more rapidly around resistant pfcrt and dhfr alleles from Laos than from Thailand. These results demonstrate that different realizations of the same selective sweeps may vary considerably in size and shape, in a manner broadly consistent with selection history. From a practical perspective, genomic regions containing resistance genes may be most effectively located by genome-wide association in populations exposed to strong drug selection. However, the lower levels of LD surrounding resistance alleles in populations under weak selection may simplify identification of functional mutations.
    • 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.
    • A significant increase in kdr in Anopheles gambiae is associated with an intensive vector control intervention in Burundi highlands.

      Protopopoff, N; Verhaeghen, K; Van Bortel, W; Roelants, P; Marcotty, T; Baza, D; D'Alessandro, U; Coosemans, M; Department of Parasitology, Prince Leopold Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium. nprotopopoff@itg.be (2008-12)
      OBJECTIVES AND METHODS: In Burundi, the occurrence of the knock down resistance (kdr) mutation in Anopheles gambiae sensu lato (s.l.) was determined for six consecutive years within the framework of a vector control programme. Findings were also linked with the insecticide resistance status observed with bioassay in An. gambiae s.l. and An. funestus. RESULTS: The proportion of An. gambiae s.l. carrying the East Leu-Ser kdr mutation was 1% before the spraying intervention in 2002; by 2007 it was 86% in sprayed valleys and 67% in untreated valleys. Multivariate analysis showed that increased risk of carrying the kdr mutation is associated with spraying interventions, location and time. In bioassays conducted between 2005 and 2007 at five sites, An. funestus was susceptible to permethrin, deltamethrin and DDT. Anopheles gambiae s.l. remained susceptible or tolerant to deltamethrin and resistant to DDT and permethrin, but only when kdr allele carriers reached 90% of the population. CONCLUSIONS: The cross-resistance against DDT and permethrin in Karuzi suggests a possible kdr resistance mechanism. Nevertheless, the homozygous resistant genotype alone does not entirely explain the bioassay results, and other mechanisms conferring resistance cannot be ruled out. After exposure to all three insecticides, homozygote individuals for the kdr allele dominate among the surviving An. gambiae s.l. This confirms the potential selection pressure of pyrethroids on kdr mutation. However, the high occurrence of the kdr mutation, even at sites far from the sprayed areas, suggests a selection pressure other than that exerted by the vector control programme.
    • The Efficacy of Chloroquine for the Treatment of Acute, Uncomplicated, Plasmodium Falciparum Malaria in Laos.

      Guthmann, J P; Kasparian, S; Phetsouvanh, R; Nathan, N; Garcia, M; Phompida, S; Brockman, A; Gastellu-Etchegorry, M; Legros, D; Epicentre, 8 rue Saint Sabin, 75011 Paris, France. jguthmann@epicentre.msf.org (Published by: Maney Publishing, 2002-09)
      To assess the local efficacy of chloroquine for the treatment of acute, uncomplicated, Plasmodium falciparum malaria, children and adults from Sekong province (an area of Laos with a low intensity of transmission) were tested in a 28-day, in-vivo study. Complete data were collected from 88 of the 102 subjects enrolled between October 1999 and September 2000. After genotypic analysis to distinguish recrudescing infections from re-infections, 35 (39.7%, with a 95% confidence interval of 29.5%-50.7%) of these 88 patients were considered treatment failures. These results seriously question the use of chloroquine as the first-line treatment for P. falciparum malaria in the study area.
    • A Worldwide Map of Plasmodium Falciparum K13-Propeller Polymorphisms

      Ménard, D; Khim, N; Beghain, J; Adegnika, AA; Shafiul-Alam, M; Amodu, O; Rahim-Awab, G; Barnadas, C; Berry, A; Boum, Y; et al. (Massachusetts Medical Society, 2016-06-23)
      Recent gains in reducing the global burden of malaria are threatened by the emergence of Plasmodium falciparum resistance to artemisinins. The discovery that mutations in portions of a P. falciparum gene encoding kelch (K13)-propeller domains are the major determinant of resistance has provided opportunities for monitoring such resistance on a global scale.