• Adherence to a Six-Dose Regimen of Artemether-Lumefantrine for Treatment of Uncomplicated Plasmodium Falciparum Malaria in Uganda.

      Fogg, C; Bajunirwe, F; Piola, P; Biraro, S; Checchi, F; Kiguli, J; Namiiro, P; Musabe, J; Kyomugisha, A; Guthmann, J P; Epicentre, Paris, France. (Published by: American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 2004-11)
      Measuring baseline levels of adherence and identifying risk factors for non-adherence are important steps before the introduction of new antimalarials. In Mbarara in southwestern Uganda, we assessed adherence to artemether-lumefantrine (Coartem) in its latest World Health Organization blister formulation. Patients with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria were prescribed artemether-lumefantrine and received an explanation of how to take the following five doses at home. A tablet count was made and a questionnaire was completed during a home visit. Among 210 analyzable patients, 21 (10.0%) were definitely or probably non-adherent, whereas 189 (90.0%) were probably adherent. Age group was not associated with adherence. Lack of formal education was the only factor associated with non-adherence after controlling for confounders (odds ratio = 3.1, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.1-9.7). Mean lumefantrine blood levels were lower among non-adherent (n = 16) (2.76 microg/mL, 95% CI = 1.06-4.45) than among adherent (n = 171) (3.19 microg/mL, 95% CI = 2.84-3.54) patients, but this difference was not statistically significant. The high adherence to artemether-lumefantrine found in our study suggest that this drug is likely to be very effective in Mbarara provided that patients receive clear dosage explanations.
    • 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.
    • Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine and artemether-lumefantrine for treating uncomplicated malaria in African children: a randomised, non-inferiority trial

      Bassat, Quique; Mulenga, Modest; Tinto, Halidou; Piola, Patrice; Borrmann, Steffen; Menéndez, Clara; Nambozi, Michael; Valéa, Innocent; Nabasumba, Carolyn; Sasi, Philip; Bacchieri, Antonella; Corsi, Marco; Ubben, David; Talisuna, Ambrose; D'Alessandro, Umberto; Barcelona Centre for International Health Research (CRESIB), Hospital Clínic, Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain; Manhiça Health Research Centre (CISM), Manhiça, Mozambique; Tropical Disease Research Centre, Ndola, Zambia; Centre Muraz, Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, IRSS/DRO, Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso; Epicentre/MSF, Mbarara, Uganda; Kenya Medical Research Institute, Kilifi, Kenya; University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany; Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; Sigma Tau Industrie Farmaceutiche Riunite, Pomezia, Rome, Italy; Medicines for Malaria Venture, Geneva, Switzerland; Prince Leopold Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium (2009-11-17)
      BACKGROUND: Artemisinin combination therapies (ACTs) are currently the preferred option for treating uncomplicated malaria. Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DHA-PQP) is a promising fixed-dose ACT with limited information on its safety and efficacy in African children. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The non-inferiority of DHA-PQP versus artemether-lumefantrine (AL) in children 6-59 months old with uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria was tested in five African countries (Burkina Faso, Kenya, Mozambique, Uganda and Zambia). Patients were randomised (2:1) to receive either DHA-PQP or AL. Non-inferiority was assessed using a margin of -5% for the lower limit of the one-sided 97.5% confidence interval on the treatment difference (DHA-PQP vs. AL) of the day 28 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) corrected cure rate. Efficacy analysis was performed in several populations, and two of them are presented here: intention-to-treat (ITT) and enlarged per-protocol (ePP). 1553 children were randomised, 1039 receiving DHA-PQP and 514 AL. The PCR-corrected day 28 cure rate was 90.4% (ITT) and 94.7% (ePP) in the DHA-PQP group, and 90.0% (ITT) and 95.3% (ePP) in the AL group. The lower limits of the one-sided 97.5% CI of the difference between the two treatments were -2.80% and -2.96%, in the ITT and ePP populations, respectively. In the ITT population, the Kaplan-Meier estimate of the proportion of new infections up to Day 42 was 13.55% (95% CI: 11.35%-15.76%) for DHA-PQP vs 24.00% (95% CI: 20.11%-27.88%) for AL (p<0.0001). CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: DHA-PQP is as efficacious as AL in treating uncomplicated malaria in African children from different endemicity settings, and shows a comparable safety profile. The occurrence of new infections within the 42-day follow up was significantly lower in the DHA-PQP group, indicating a longer post-treatment prophylactic effect. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Controlled-trials.com ISRCTN16263443.
    • 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.
    • Effectiveness of five artemisinin combination regimens with or without primaquine in uncomplicated falciparum malaria: an open-label randomised trial

      Smithuis, Frank; Kyaw, Moe Kyaw; Phe, Ohn; Win, Thein; Aung, Pyay Phyo; Oo, Aung Pyay Phyo; Naing, Arkar Linn; Nyo, Mya Yee; Myint, Naing Zaw Htun; Imwong, Mallika; Ashley, Elizabeth; Lee, Sue J; White, Nicholas J; Médecins Sans Frontières—Holland, Yangon, Myanmar; Medical Action Myanmar, Yangon, Myanmar; Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand; Centre for Tropical Medicine, Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine, Churchill Hospital, Oxford, UK (2010-09-09)
      BACKGROUND: Artemisinin-combination therapy (ACT) is recommended as first-line treatment of falciparum malaria throughout the world, and fixed-dose combinations are preferred by WHO; whether a single gametocytocidal dose of primaquine should be added is unknown. We aimed to compare effectiveness of four fixed-dose ACTs and a loose tablet combination of artesunate and mefloquine, and assess the addition of a single gametocytocidal dose of primaquine. METHODS: In an open-label randomised trial in clinics in Rakhine state, Kachin state, and Shan state in Myanmar (Burma) between Dec 30, 2008, and March 20, 2009, we compared the effectiveness of all four WHO-recommended fixed-dose ACTs (artesunate-mefloquine, artesunate-amodiaquine, dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine, artemether-lumefantrine) and loose artesunate-mefloquine in Burmese adults and children. Eligible patients were those who presented to the clinics with acute uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria or mixed infection, who were older than 6 months, and who weighed more than 5 kg. Treatments were randomised in equal numbers within blocks of 50 and allocation was in sealed envelopes. All patients were also randomly assigned to receive either a single dose of primaquine 0·75 mg base/kg or not. Patients were followed up for 63 days. Treatment groups were compared by analysis of variance and multiple logistic regression. The primary outcome was the 63 day recrudescence rate. This study is registered with clinicaltrials.gov, number NCT00902811. FINDINGS: 155 patients received artesunate-amodiaquine, 162 artemether-lumefantrine, 169 artesunate-mefloquine, 161 loose artesunate-mefloquine, and 161 dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine. By day 63 of follow-up, 14 patients (9·4%; 95% CI 5·7-15·3%) on artesunate-amodiaquine had recrudescent P falciparum infections, a rate significantly higher than for artemether-lumefantrine (two patients; 1·4%; 0·3-5·3; p=0·0013), fixed-dose artesunate-mefloquine (0 patients; 0-2·3; p<0·0001), loose artesunate-mefloquine (two patients; 1·3%; 0·3-5·3; p=0·0018), and dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (two patients 1·3%; 0·3-5·2%; p=0·0012). Hazard ratios for re-infection (95% CI) after artesunate-amodiaquine were 3·2 (1·3-8·0) compared with the two artesunate-mefloquine groups (p=0·01), 2·6 (1·0-6-0) compared with artemether-lumefantrine (p=0·04), and 2·3 (0·9-6·0) compared with dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (p=0·08). Mixed falciparum and vivax infections were common: 129 (16%) had a mixed infection at presentation and 330 (41%) patients had one or more episodes of Plasmodium vivax infection during follow-up. The addition of a single dose of primaquine (0·75 mg/kg) reduced P falciparum gametocyte carriage substantially: rate ratio 11·9 (95% CI 7·4-20·5). All regimens were well tolerated. Adverse events were reported by 599 patients, most commonly vomiting and dizziness. Other side-effects were less common and were not related to a specific treatment. INTERPRETATION: Artesunate-amodiaquine should not be used in Myanmar, because the other ACTs are substantially more effective. Artesunate-mefloquine provided the greatest post-treatment suppression of malaria. Adding a single dose of primaquine would substantially reduce transmission potential. Vivax malaria, not recurrent falciparum malaria, is the main complication after treatment of P falciparum infections in this region. FUNDING: Médecins sans Frontières (Holland) and the Wellcome Trust Mahidol University Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Programme.
    • Efficacy and effectiveness of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine versus artesunate-mefloquine in falciparum malaria: an open-label randomised comparison.

      Smithuis, F; Kyaw, M K; Phe, O; Aye, K Z; Htet, L; Barends, M; Lindegardh, N; Singtoroj, T; Ashley, E A; Lwin, S; Stepniewska, K; White, N J; Médecins Sans Frontières (Holland), Yangon, Myanmar. (Elsevier, 2006-06-24)
      BACKGROUND: Artemisinin-based combinations are judged the best treatments for multidrug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Artesunate-mefloquine is widely recommended in southeast Asia, but its high cost and tolerability profile remain obstacles to widespread deployment. To assess whether dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine is a suitable alternative to artesunate-mefloquine, we compared the safety, tolerability, efficacy, and effectiveness of the two regimens for the treatment of uncomplicated falciparum in western Myanmar (Burma). METHODS: We did an open randomised comparison of 3-day regimens of artesunate-mefloquine (12/25 mg/kg) versus dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (6.3/50 mg/kg) for the treatment of children aged 1 year or older and in adults with uncomplicated falciparum malaria in Rakhine State, western Myanmar. Within each group, patients were randomly assigned supervised or non-supervised treatment. The primary endpoint was the PCR-confirmed parasitological failure rate by day 42. Failure rates at day 42 were estimated by Kaplan-Meier survival analysis. This study is registered as an International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial, number ISRCTN27914471. FINDINGS: Of 652 patients enrolled, 327 were assigned dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (156 supervised and 171 not supervised), and 325 artesunate-mefloquine (162 and 163, respectively). 16 patients were lost to follow-up, and one patient died 22 days after receiving dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine. Recrudescent parasitaemias were confirmed in only two patients; the day 42 failure rate was 0.6% (95% CI 0.2-2.5) for dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine and 0 (0-1.2) for artesunate-mefloquine. Whole-blood piperaquine concentrations at day 7 were similar for patients with observed and non-observed dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine treatment. Gametocytaemia developed more frequently in patients who had received dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine than in those on artesunate-mefloquine: day 7, 18 (10%) of 188 versus five (2%) of 218; relative risk 4.2 (1.6-11.0) p=0.011. INTERPRETATION: Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine is a highly efficacious and inexpensive treatment of multidrug-resistant falciparum malaria and is well tolerated by all age groups. The effectiveness of the unsupervised treatment, as in the usual context of use, equalled its supervised efficacy, indicating good adherence without supervision. Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine is a good alternative to artesunate-mefloquine.
    • 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 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.
    • Evaluation of three parasite lactate dehydrogenase-based rapid diagnostic tests for the diagnosis of falciparum and vivax malaria

      Ashley, Elizabeth A; Touabi, Malek; Ahrer, Margareta; Hutagalung, Robert; Htun, Khayae; Luchavez, Jennifer; Dureza, Christine; Proux, Stephane; Leimanis, Mara; Lwin, Myo Min; Koscalova, Alena; Comte, Eric; Hamade, Prudence; Page, Anne-Laure; Nosten, François; Guerin, Philippe J; Epicentre, Paris, France; Department of Microbiology, Hammersmith Hospital, Imperial College NHS Trust, London, UK; Médecins sans Frontières, Switzerland; Médecins sans Frontières, Myanmar; Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, Alabang, Muntinlupa City, Philippines; Shoklo Malaria Research Unit, Mae Sot, Thailand; Mahidol-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (MORU), Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand; Centre for Tropical Medicine, Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Oxford, UK; Médecins sans Frontières Malaria Working Group, UK; Malaria Consortium, London, UK (2009-10-27)
      BACKGROUND: In areas where non-falciparum malaria is common rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) capable of distinguishing malaria species reliably are needed. Such tests are often based on the detection of parasite lactate dehydrogenase (pLDH). METHODS: In Dawei, southern Myanmar, three pLDH based RDTs (CareStart Malaria pLDH (Pan), CareStart Malaria pLDH (Pan, Pf) and OptiMAL-IT)were evaluated in patients presenting with clinically suspected malaria. Each RDT was read independently by two readers. A subset of patients with microscopically confirmed malaria had their RDTs repeated on days 2, 7 and then weekly until negative. At the end of the study, samples of study batches were sent for heat stability testing. RESULTS: Between August and November 2007, 1004 patients aged between 1 and 93 years were enrolled in the study. Slide microscopy (the reference standard) diagnosed 213 Plasmodium vivax (Pv) monoinfections, 98 Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) mono-infections and no malaria in 650 cases. The sensitivities (sens) and specificities (spec), of the RDTs for the detection of malaria were- CareStart Malaria pLDH (Pan) test: sens 89.1% [CI95 84.2-92.6], spec 97.6% [CI95 96.5-98.4]. OptiMal-IT: Pf+/- other species detection: sens 95.2% [CI95 87.5-98.2], spec 94.7% [CI95 93.3-95.8]; non-Pf detection alone: sens 89.6% [CI95 83.6-93.6], spec 96.5% [CI95 94.8-97.7]. CareStart Malaria pLDH (Pan, Pf): Pf+/- other species: sens 93.5% [CI95 85.4-97.3], spec 97.4% [95.9-98.3]; non-Pf: sens 78.5% [CI95 71.1-84.4], spec 97.8% [CI95 96.3-98.7]. Inter-observer agreement was excellent for all tests (kappa > 0.9). The median time for the RDTs to become negative was two days for the CareStart Malaria tests and seven days for OptiMAL-IT. Tests were heat stable up to 90 days except for OptiMAL-IT (Pf specific pLDH stable to day 20 at 35 degrees C). CONCLUSION: None of the pLDH-based RDTs evaluated was able to detect non-falciparum malaria with high sensitivity, particularly at low parasitaemias. OptiMAL-IT performed best overall and would perform best in an area of high malaria prevalence among screened fever cases. However, heat stability was unacceptable and the number of steps to perform this test is a significant drawback in the field. A reliable, heat-stable, highly sensitive RDT, capable of diagnosing all Plasmodium species has yet to be identified.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Forecasting malaria incidence based on monthly case reports and environmental factors in Karuzi, Burundi, 1997-2003.

      Gomez-Elipe, A; Otero, A; Van Herp, M; Aguirre-Jaime, A; Public Health Department, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, C/Arzobispo Morcillo 2, 28029 Madrid, Spain. agomez.elipe@gmail.com (BMC, 2007)
      BACKGROUND: The objective of this work was to develop a model to predict malaria incidence in an area of unstable transmission by studying the association between environmental variables and disease dynamics. METHODS: The study was carried out in Karuzi, a province in the Burundi highlands, using time series of monthly notifications of malaria cases from local health facilities, data from rain and temperature records, and the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI). Using autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) methodology, a model showing the relation between monthly notifications of malaria cases and the environmental variables was developed. RESULTS: The best forecasting model (R2adj = 82%, p < 0.0001 and 93% forecasting accuracy in the range +/- 4 cases per 100 inhabitants) included the NDVI, mean maximum temperature, rainfall and number of malaria cases in the preceding month. CONCLUSION: This model is a simple and useful tool for producing reasonably reliable forecasts of the malaria incidence rate in the study area.
    • 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; White, N J; Nosten, F; Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research, San Antonio, Texas, USA. tanderso@darwin.sfbr.org (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.
    • Improving the Specificity of Plasmodium falciparum Malaria Diagnosis in High-Transmission Settings with a Two-Step Rapid Diagnostic Test and Microscopy Algorithm

      Murungi, M; Fulton, T; Reyes, R; Matte, M; Ntaro, M; Mulogo, E; Nyehangane, D; Juliano, J; Siedner, M; Boum, Y; Boyce, R (American Society for Microbiology, 2017-05)
      Poor specificity may negatively impact rapid diagnostic test (RDT)-based diagnostic strategies for malaria. We performed real-time PCR on a subset of subjects who had undergone diagnostic testing with a multiple-antigen (histidine-rich protein 2 and pan-lactate dehydrogenase pLDH [HRP2/pLDH]) RDT and microscopy. We determined the sensitivity and specificity of the RDT in comparison to results of PCR for the detection of Plasmodium falciparum malaria. We developed and evaluated a two-step algorithm utilizing the multiple-antigen RDT to screen patients, followed by confirmatory microscopy for those individuals with HRP2-positive (HRP2+)/pLDH-negative (pLDH-) results. In total, dried blood spots (DBS) were collected from 276 individuals. There were 124 (44.9%) individuals with an HRP2+/pLDH+ result, 94 (34.1%) with an HRP2+/pLDH- result, and 58 (21%) with a negative RDT result. The sensitivity and specificity of the RDT compared to results with real-time PCR were 99.4% (95% confidence interval [CI], 95.9 to 100.0%) and 46.7% (95% CI, 37.7 to 55.9%), respectively. Of the 94 HRP2+/pLDH- results, only 32 (34.0%) and 35 (37.2%) were positive by microscopy and PCR, respectively. The sensitivity and specificity of the two-step algorithm compared to results with real-time PCR were 95.5% (95% CI, 90.5 to 98.0%) and 91.0% (95% CI, 84.1 to 95.2), respectively. HRP2 antigen bands demonstrated poor specificity for the diagnosis of malaria compared to that of real-time PCR in a high-transmission setting. The most likely explanation for this finding is the persistence of HRP2 antigenemia following treatment of an acute infection. The two-step diagnostic algorithm utilizing microscopy as a confirmatory test for indeterminate HRP2+/pLDH- results showed significantly improved specificity with little loss of sensitivity in a high-transmission setting.
    • 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; Pukrittayakamee, S; Looareesuwan, S; Hien, T T; Farrar, J; Nosten, F; Day, N P J; White, N J; Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, 420/6 Rajvithi Rd., Bangkok 10400, Thailand. (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.
    • In vivo parasitological measures of artemisinin susceptibility

      Stepniewska, Kasia; Ashley, Elizabeth; Lee, Sue J; Anstey, Nicholas; Barnes, Karen I; Binh, Tran Quang; D'Alessandro, Umberto; Day, Nicholas P J; de Vries, Peter J; Dorsey, Grant; Guthmann, Jean-Paul; Mayxay, Mayfong; Newton, Paul N; Olliaro, Piero; Osorio, Lyda; Price, Ric N; Rowland, Mark; Smithuis, Frank; Taylor, Walter R J; Nosten, François; White, Nicholas J; Mahidol-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand; Shoklo Malaria Research Unit, Mae Sot, Thailand; Menzies School of Health Research and Royal Darwin Hospital, Darwin, Australia; Division of Clinical Pharmacology, Department of Medicine, University (2010-01-19)
      Parasite clearance data from 18,699 patients with falciparum malaria treated with an artemisinin derivative in areas of low (n=14,539), moderate (n=2077), and high (n=2083) levels of malaria transmission across the world were analyzed to determine the factors that affect clearance rates and identify a simple in vivo screening measure for artemisinin resistance. The main factor affecting parasite clearance time was parasite density on admission. Clearance rates were faster in high-transmission settings and with more effective partner drugs in artemisinin-based combination treatments (ACTs). The result of the malaria blood smear on day 3 (72 h) was a good predictor of subsequent treatment failure and provides a simple screening measure for artemisinin resistance. Artemisinin resistance is highly unlikely if the proportion of patients with parasite densities of <100,000 parasites/microL given the currently recommended 3-day ACT who have a positive smear result on day 3 is <3%; that is, for n patients the observed number with a positive smear result on day 3 does not exceed (n + 60)/24.
    • 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; Ifakara Health Research and Development Centre, Ifakara, Tanzania. (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.
    • Multiple origins and regional dispersal of resistant dhps in African Plasmodium falciparum malaria.

      Pearce, Richard J; Pota, Hirva; Evehe, Marie-Solange B; Bâ, El-Hadj; Mombo-Ngoma, Ghyslain; Malisa, Allen L; Ord, Rosalynn; Inojosa, Walter; Matondo, Alexandre; Diallo, Diadier A; Mbacham, Wilfred; van den Broek, Ingrid V; Swarthout, Todd D; Getachew, Asefaw; Dejene, Seyoum; Grobusch, Martin P; Njie, Fanta; Dunyo, Samuel; Kweku, Margaret; Owusu-Agyei, Seth; Chandramohan, Daniel; Bonnet, Maryline; Guthmann, Jean-Paul; Clarke, Sian; Barnes, Karen I; Streat, Elizabeth; Katokele, Stark T; Uusiku, Petrina; Agboghoroma, Chris O; Elegba, Olufunmilayo Y; Cissé, Badara; A-Elbasit, Ishraga E; Giha, Hayder A; Kachur, S Patrick; Lynch, Caroline; Rwakimari, John B; Chanda, Pascalina; Hawela, Moonga; Sharp, Brian; Naidoo, Inbarani; Roper, Cally; London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Department of Infectious Tropical Diseases, London, UK. (2009-04-14)
      BACKGROUND: Although the molecular basis of resistance to a number of common antimalarial drugs is well known, a geographic description of the emergence and dispersal of resistance mutations across Africa has not been attempted. To that end we have characterised the evolutionary origins of antifolate resistance mutations in the dihydropteroate synthase (dhps) gene and mapped their contemporary distribution. METHODS AND FINDINGS: We used microsatellite polymorphism flanking the dhps gene to determine which resistance alleles shared common ancestry and found five major lineages each of which had a unique geographical distribution. The extent to which allelic lineages were shared among 20 African Plasmodium falciparum populations revealed five major geographical groupings. Resistance lineages were common to all sites within these regions. The most marked differentiation was between east and west African P. falciparum, in which resistance alleles were not only of different ancestry but also carried different resistance mutations. CONCLUSIONS: Resistant dhps has emerged independently in multiple sites in Africa during the past 10-20 years. Our data show the molecular basis of resistance differs between east and west Africa, which is likely to translate into differing antifolate sensitivity. We have also demonstrated that the dispersal patterns of resistance lineages give unique insights into recent parasite migration patterns.