register interest

Professor Philippe J Guerin

Research Area: Global Health
Technology Exchange: Bioinformatics and Medical statistics
Scientific Themes: Tropical Medicine & Global Health and Clinical Trials & Epidemiology
Keywords: Malaria, Resistance, Clinical, Pharmacological, Molecular and Policy
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The Worldwide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN) is a global collaboration working to ensure that anyone affected by malaria receives effective and safe drug treatment.

Of the approximately one million people who die from the effects of malaria every year, most are children under five years of age. In the absence of an effective vaccine, the best lines of defence are avoidance of mosquito bites or effective drug therapy. However, malarial parasites are able to become rapidly resistant to commonly-used or even new drugs.

WWARN will provide urgently needed, comprehensive, timely and quality-assured information to track the emergence of malarial drug resistance. High levels of clinical treatment failure are amongst the last indicators of drug resistance. Uniquely WWARN will, in parallel with the clinical response to drug treatment, track pharmacological, molecular and laboratory measures of parasite drug resistance. Small changes in one or more of these factors may provide early warning of emerging resistance. Collated information will allow policy makers at national, regional or international levels to develop strategies that make best use of available drugs and resources.

Global cooperation is central to WWARN’s future success. Working in close collaboration with the World Health Organization, WWARN has created the hub of a worldwide network that will supply tools, training and resources to maximize scientists’ contributions.

WWARN is an international project within Oxford University in the United Kingdom and funded by a programme grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the ExxonMobil Foundation and UKAID. For further information, visit www.wwarn.org.

Name Department Institution Country
Professor Richard Price Tropical Medicine University of Oxford United Kingdom
Professor Trudie Lang Tropical Medicine University of Oxford United Kingdom
Professor François H Nosten Tropical Medicine University of Oxford United Kingdom
Professor Peter Horby Tropical Medicine University of Oxford United Kingdom
Professor Nicholas PJ Day FMedSci FRCP Tropical Medicine University of Oxford United Kingdom
Professor Paul Newton Tropical Medicine University of Oxford United Kingdom
Professor Nicholas J White FRS Tropical Medicine University of Oxford United Kingdom
Professor J. Kevin Baird Tropical Medicine University of Oxford United Kingdom
Tabernero P, Parker M, Ravinetto R, Phanouvong S, Yeung S, Kitutu FE, Cheah PY, Mayxay M, Guerin PJ, Newton PN. 2016. Ethical challenges in designing and conducting medicine quality surveys. Trop Med Int Health, 21 (6), pp. 799-806. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVES: In this paper we discuss the main ethical challenges related to the conduct of medicine quality surveys and make suggestions on how to address them. METHOD: Most evidence-based information regarding medicine quality derives from surveys. However, existing research ethical guidelines do not provide specific guidance for medicine quality surveys. Hence, those conducting surveys are often left wondering how to judge what counts as best practice. A list of the main ethical challenges in the design and conduct of surveys is presented. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: It is vital that the design and conduct of medicine quality surveys uphold moral and ethical obligations and analyse the ethical implications and consequences of such work. These aspects include the impact on the local availability of and access to medicines; the confidentiality and privacy of the surveyors and the surveyed; questions as to whether outlet staff personnel should be told they are part of a survey; the need of ethical and regulatory approvals; and how the findings should be disseminated. Medicine quality surveys should ideally be conducted in partnership with the relevant national Medicine Regulatory Authorities. An international, but contextually sensitive, model of good ethical practice for such surveys is needed.

Abdulla S, Achan J, Yeka A, D'Alessandro U, Adam I, Alemayehu BH, Allan R, Temu EA et al. 2016. Gametocyte carriage in uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria following treatment with artemisinin combination therapy: a systematic review and meta-analysis of individual patient data BMC Medicine, 14 (1), | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2016 WWARN Gametocyte Study Group.Background: Gametocytes are responsible for transmission of malaria from human to mosquito. Artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) reduces post-treatment gametocyte carriage, dependent upon host, parasite and pharmacodynamic factors. The gametocytocidal properties of antimalarial drugs are important for malaria elimination efforts. An individual patient clinical data meta-analysis was undertaken to identify the determinants of gametocyte carriage and the comparative effects of four ACTs: artemether-lumefantrine (AL), artesunate/amodiaquine (AS-AQ), artesunate/mefloquine (AS-MQ), and dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DP). Methods: Factors associated with gametocytaemia prior to, and following, ACT treatment were identified in multivariable logistic or Cox regression analysis with random effects. All relevant studies were identified through a systematic review of PubMed. Risk of bias was evaluated based on study design, methodology, and missing data. Results: The systematic review identified 169 published and 9 unpublished studies, 126 of which were shared with the WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN) and 121 trials including 48,840 patients were included in the analysis. Prevalence of gametocytaemia by microscopy at enrolment was 12.1 % (5887/48,589), and increased with decreasing age, decreasing asexual parasite density and decreasing haemoglobin concentration, and was higher in patients without fever at presentation. After ACT treatment, gametocytaemia appeared in 1.9 % (95 % CI, 1.7-2.1) of patients. The appearance of gametocytaemia was lowest after AS-MQ and AL and significantly higher after DP (adjusted hazard ratio (AHR), 2.03; 95 % CI, 1.24-3.12; P = 0.005 compared to AL) and AS-AQ fixed dose combination (FDC) (AHR, 4.01; 95 % CI, 2.40-6.72; P < 0.001 compared to AL). Among individuals who had gametocytaemia before treatment, gametocytaemia clearance was significantly faster with AS-MQ (AHR, 1.26; 95 % CI, 1.00-1.60; P = 0.054) and slower with DP (AHR, 0.74; 95 % CI, 0.63-0.88; P = 0.001) compared to AL. Both recrudescent (adjusted odds ratio (AOR), 9.05; 95 % CI, 3.74-21.90; P < 0.001) and new (AOR, 3.03; 95 % CI, 1.66-5.54; P < 0.001) infections with asexual-stage parasites were strongly associated with development of gametocytaemia after day 7. Conclusions: AS-MQ and AL are more effective than DP and AS-AQ FDC in preventing gametocytaemia shortly after treatment, suggesting that the non-artemisinin partner drug or the timing of artemisinin dosing are important determinants of post-treatment gametocyte dynamics.

Newton PN, Caillet C, Guerin PJ. 2016. A link between poor quality antimalarials and malaria drug resistance? Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther, 14 (6), pp. 531-533. | Read more

Merson L, Gaye O, Guerin PJ. 2016. Avoiding Data Dumpsters--Toward Equitable and Useful Data Sharing. N Engl J Med, 374 (25), pp. 2414-2415. | Read more

Bassat Q, Tanner M, Guerin PJ, Stricker K, Hamed K. 2016. Combating poor-quality anti-malarial medicines: a call to action. Malar J, 15 (1), pp. 302. | Show Abstract | Read more

The circulation of poor-quality medicines continues to undermine the fight against many life-threatening diseases. Anti-malarial medicines appear to have been particularly compromised and present a major public health threat in malaria-endemic countries, negatively affecting individuals and their communities. Concerted collaborative efforts are required from global, regional and national organizations, involving the public and private sectors, to address the problem. While many initiatives are underway, a number of unmet needs deserve urgent and increased multisector attention. At the global level, there is a need for an international public health legal framework or treaty on poor-quality medicines, with statutes suitable for integration into national laws. In addition, increased international efforts are required to strengthen the governance of global supply chains and enhance cooperation between national medicine regulation authorities and law enforcement bodies. Increased investment is needed in innovative technologies that will enable healthcare teams to detect poor-quality medicines at all levels of the supply chain. At the regional level, a number of initiatives would be beneficial-key areas are standardization, simplification, and reciprocal recognition of registration processes and development of quality control capacity in regional centres of excellence that are better aligned with public health needs; improved surveillance methods and creation of a framework for compulsory and transparent reporting of poor-quality medicines; additional support for national medicine regulation authorities and other national partner authorities; and an increase in support for regional laboratories to boost their capabilities in detecting poor-quality medicines. It is vital that all stakeholders involved in efforts against poor-quality anti-malarial medicines extend and strengthen their actions in these critical areas and thus effectively support global health development and malaria elimination programmes.

Lybbert J, Gullingsrud J, Chesnokov O, Turyakira E, Dhorda M, Guerin PJ, Piola P, Muehlenbachs A, Oleinikov AV. 2016. Abundance of megalin and Dab2 is reduced in syncytiotrophoblast during placental malaria, which may contribute to low birth weight. Sci Rep, 6 pp. 24508. | Show Abstract | Read more

Placental malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum contributes to ~200,000 child deaths annually, mainly due to low birth weight (LBW). Parasitized erythrocyte sequestration and consequent inflammation in the placenta are common attributes of placental malaria. The precise molecular details of placental changes leading to LBW are still poorly understood. We hypothesized that placental malaria may disturb maternofetal exchange of vitamins, lipids, and hormones mediated by the multi-ligand (n ~ 50) scavenging/signaling receptor megalin, which is abundantly expressed in placenta but was not previously analyzed in pregnancy outcomes. We studied abundance of megalin and its intracellular adaptor protein Dab2 by immunofluorescence microscopy in placental biopsies from Ugandan women with (n = 8) and without (n = 20) active placental malaria. We found that: (a) abundances of both megalin (p = 0.01) and Dab2 (p = 0.006) were significantly reduced in brush border of syncytiotrophoblast of infected placentas; (b) amounts of megalin and Dab2 were strongly correlated (Spearman's r = 0.53, p = 0.003); (c) abundances of megalin and Dab2 (p = 0.046) were reduced in infected placentas from women with LBW deliveries. This study provides first evidence that placental malaria infection is associated with reduced abundance of megalin transport/signaling system and indicate that these changes may contribute to the pathology of LBW.

Holmes AH, Moore LS, Sundsfjord A, Steinbakk M, Regmi S, Karkey A, Guerin PJ, Piddock LJ. 2016. Understanding the mechanisms and drivers of antimicrobial resistance. Lancet, 387 (10014), pp. 176-187. | Show Abstract | Read more

To combat the threat to human health and biosecurity from antimicrobial resistance, an understanding of its mechanisms and drivers is needed. Emergence of antimicrobial resistance in microorganisms is a natural phenomenon, yet antimicrobial resistance selection has been driven by antimicrobial exposure in health care, agriculture, and the environment. Onward transmission is affected by standards of infection control, sanitation, access to clean water, access to assured quality antimicrobials and diagnostics, travel, and migration. Strategies to reduce antimicrobial resistance by removing antimicrobial selective pressure alone rely upon resistance imparting a fitness cost, an effect not always apparent. Minimising resistance should therefore be considered comprehensively, by resistance mechanism, microorganism, antimicrobial drug, host, and context; parallel to new drug discovery, broad ranging, multidisciplinary research is needed across these five levels, interlinked across the health-care, agriculture, and environment sectors. Intelligent, integrated approaches, mindful of potential unintended results, are needed to ensure sustained, worldwide access to effective antimicrobials.

Ashley EA, Aweeka F, Barnes KI, Bassat Q, Borrmann S, Dahal P, Davis TME, Deloron P et al. 2015. Artemether-lumefantrine treatment of uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria: a systematic review and meta-analysis of day 7 lumefantrine concentrations and therapeutic response using individual patient data BMC Medicine, 13 (1), | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2015 WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN) Lumefantrine PK/PD Study Group.Background: Achieving adequate antimalarial drug exposure is essential for curing malaria. Day 7 blood or plasma lumefantrine concentrations provide a simple measure of drug exposure that correlates well with artemether-lumefantrine efficacy. However, the 'therapeutic' day 7 lumefantrine concentration threshold needs to be defined better, particularly for important patient and parasite sub-populations. Methods: The WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN) conducted a large pooled analysis of individual pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic data from patients treated with artemether-lumefantrine for uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria, to define therapeutic day 7 lumefantrine concentrations and identify patient factors that substantially alter these concentrations. A systematic review of PubMed, Embase, Google Scholar, ClinicalTrials.gov and conference proceedings identified all relevant studies. Risk of bias in individual studies was evaluated based on study design, methodology and missing data. Results: Of 31 studies identified through a systematic review, 26 studies were shared with WWARN and 21 studies with 2,787 patients were included. Recrudescence was associated with low day 7 lumefantrine concentrations (HR 1.59 (95 % CI 1.36 to 1.85) per halving of day 7 concentrations) and high baseline parasitemia (HR 1.87 (95 % CI 1.22 to 2.87) per 10-fold increase). Adjusted for mg/kg dose, day 7 concentrations were lowest in very young children (<3 years), among whom underweight-for-age children had 23 % (95 % CI -1 to 41 %) lower concentrations than adequately nourished children of the same age and 53 % (95 % CI 37 to 65 %) lower concentrations than adults. Day 7 lumefantrine concentrations were 44 % (95 % CI 38 to 49 %) lower following unsupervised treatment. The highest risk of recrudescence was observed in areas of emerging artemisinin resistance and very low transmission intensity. For all other populations studied, day 7 concentrations ≥200 ng/ml were associated with >98 % cure rates (if parasitemia <135,000/μL). Conclusions: Current artemether-lumefantrine dosing recommendations achieve day 7 lumefantrine concentrations ≥200 ng/ml and high cure rates in most uncomplicated malaria patients. Three groups are at increased risk of treatment failure: very young children (particularly those underweight-for-age); patients with high parasitemias; and patients in very low transmission intensity areas with emerging parasite resistance. In these groups, adherence and treatment response should be monitored closely. Higher, more frequent, or prolonged dosage regimens should now be evaluated in very young children, particularly if malnourished, and in patients with hyperparasitemia.

WWARN Artemisinin based Combination Therapy (ACT) Africa Baseline Study Group, Dahal P, d'Alessandro U, Dorsey G, Guerin PJ, Nsanzabana C, Price RN, Sibley CH, Stepniewska K, Talisuna AO. 2015. Clinical determinants of early parasitological response to ACTs in African patients with uncomplicated falciparum malaria: a literature review and meta-analysis of individual patient data. BMC Med, 13 (1), pp. 212. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum has emerged in the Greater Mekong sub-region and poses a major global public health threat. Slow parasite clearance is a key clinical manifestation of reduced susceptibility to artemisinin. This study was designed to establish the baseline values for clearance in patients from Sub-Saharan African countries with uncomplicated malaria treated with artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs). METHODS: A literature review in PubMed was conducted in March 2013 to identify all prospective clinical trials (uncontrolled trials, controlled trials and randomized controlled trials), including ACTs conducted in Sub-Saharan Africa, between 1960 and 2012. Individual patient data from these studies were shared with the WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN) and pooled using an a priori statistical analytical plan. Factors affecting early parasitological response were investigated using logistic regression with study sites fitted as a random effect. The risk of bias in included studies was evaluated based on study design, methodology and missing data. RESULTS: In total, 29,493 patients from 84 clinical trials were included in the analysis, treated with artemether-lumefantrine (n = 13,664), artesunate-amodiaquine (n = 11,337) and dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (n = 4,492). The overall parasite clearance rate was rapid. The parasite positivity rate (PPR) decreased from 59.7 % (95 % CI: 54.5-64.9) on day 1 to 6.7 % (95 % CI: 4.8-8.7) on day 2 and 0.9 % (95 % CI: 0.5-1.2) on day 3. The 95th percentile of observed day 3 PPR was 5.3 %. Independent risk factors predictive of day 3 positivity were: high baseline parasitaemia (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 1.16 (95 % CI: 1.08-1.25); per 2-fold increase in parasite density, P <0.001); fever (>37.5 °C) (AOR = 1.50 (95 % CI: 1.06-2.13), P = 0.022); severe anaemia (AOR = 2.04 (95 % CI: 1.21-3.44), P = 0.008); areas of low/moderate transmission setting (AOR = 2.71 (95 % CI: 1.38-5.36), P = 0.004); and treatment with the loose formulation of artesunate-amodiaquine (AOR = 2.27 (95 % CI: 1.14-4.51), P = 0.020, compared to dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine). CONCLUSIONS: The three ACTs assessed in this analysis continue to achieve rapid early parasitological clearance across the sites assessed in Sub-Saharan Africa. A threshold of 5 % day 3 parasite positivity from a minimum sample size of 50 patients provides a more sensitive benchmark in Sub-Saharan Africa compared to the current recommended threshold of 10 % to trigger further investigation of artemisinin susceptibility.

Guyant P, Corbel V, Guérin PJ, Lautissier A, Nosten F, Boyer S, Coosemans M, Dondorp AM, Sinou V, Yeung S, White N. 2015. Past and new challenges for malaria control and elimination: the role of operational research for innovation in designing interventions Malaria Journal, 14 (1), | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2015 Guyant et al.This meeting report presents the outcomes of a workshop held in Bangkok on December 1st 2014, where the following challenges were discussed: the threat of resistance to artemisinin and artemisinin-based combination therapy in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) and in Africa; access to treatment for most at risk and hard to reach population; insecticide resistance, residual and outdoors transmission. The role of operational research and the interactions between research institutions, National Malaria Control Programmes, Civil Society Organizations, and of financial and technical partners to address those challenges and to accelerate translation of research into policies and programmes were debated. The threat and the emergency of the artemisinin resistance spread and independent emergence in the GMS was intensely debated as it is now close to the border of India. The need for key messages, based on scientific evidence and information available and disseminated without delay, was highlighted as crucial for an effective and urgent response.

WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN) AS-AQ Study Group, Adjuik MA, Allan R, Anvikar AR, Ashley EA, Ba MS, Barennes H, Barnes KI et al. 2015. The effect of dosing strategies on the therapeutic efficacy of artesunate-amodiaquine for uncomplicated malaria: a meta-analysis of individual patient data. BMC Med, 13 (1), pp. 66. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Artesunate-amodiaquine (AS-AQ) is one of the most widely used artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) to treat uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Africa. We investigated the impact of different dosing strategies on the efficacy of this combination for the treatment of falciparum malaria. METHODS: Individual patient data from AS-AQ clinical trials were pooled using the WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN) standardised methodology. Risk factors for treatment failure were identified using a Cox regression model with shared frailty across study sites. RESULTS: Forty-three studies representing 9,106 treatments from 1999-2012 were included in the analysis; 4,138 (45.4%) treatments were with a fixed dose combination with an AQ target dose of 30 mg/kg (FDC), 1,293 (14.2%) with a non-fixed dose combination with an AQ target dose of 25 mg/kg (loose NFDC-25), 2,418 (26.6%) with a non-fixed dose combination with an AQ target dose of 30 mg/kg (loose NFDC-30), and the remaining 1,257 (13.8%) with a co-blistered non-fixed dose combination with an AQ target dose of 30 mg/kg (co-blistered NFDC). The median dose of AQ administered was 32.1 mg/kg [IQR: 25.9-38.2], the highest dose being administered to patients treated with co-blistered NFDC (median = 35.3 mg/kg [IQR: 30.6-43.7]) and the lowest to those treated with loose NFDC-25 (median = 25.0 mg/kg [IQR: 22.7-25.0]). Patients treated with FDC received a median dose of 32.4 mg/kg [IQR: 27-39.0]. After adjusting for reinfections, the corrected antimalarial efficacy on day 28 after treatment was similar for co-blistered NFDC (97.9% [95% confidence interval (CI): 97.0-98.8%]) and FDC (98.1% [95% CI: 97.6%-98.5%]; P = 0.799), but significantly lower for the loose NFDC-25 (93.4% [95% CI: 91.9%-94.9%]), and loose NFDC-30 (95.0% [95% CI: 94.1%-95.9%]) (P < 0.001 for all comparisons). After controlling for age, AQ dose, baseline parasitemia and region; treatment with loose NFDC-25 was associated with a 3.5-fold greater risk of recrudescence by day 28 (adjusted hazard ratio, AHR = 3.51 [95% CI: 2.02-6.12], P < 0.001) compared to FDC, and treatment with loose NFDC-30 was associated with a higher risk of recrudescence at only three sites. CONCLUSIONS: There was substantial variation in the total dose of amodiaquine administered in different AS-AQ combination regimens. Fixed dose AS-AQ combinations ensure optimal dosing and provide higher antimalarial treatment efficacy than the loose individual tablets in all age categories.

Tun KM, Imwong M, Lwin KM, Win AA, Hlaing TM, Hlaing T, Lin K, Kyaw MP et al. 2015. Spread of artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum in Myanmar: a cross-sectional survey of the K13 molecular marker. Lancet Infect Dis, 15 (4), pp. 415-421. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Emergence of artemisinin resistance in southeast Asia poses a serious threat to the global control of Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Discovery of the K13 marker has transformed approaches to the monitoring of artemisinin resistance, allowing introduction of molecular surveillance in remote areas through analysis of DNA. We aimed to assess the spread of artemisinin-resistant P falciparum in Myanmar by determining the relative prevalence of P falciparum parasites carrying K13-propeller mutations. METHODS: We did this cross-sectional survey at malaria treatment centres at 55 sites in ten administrative regions in Myanmar, and in relevant border regions in Thailand and Bangladesh, between January, 2013, and September, 2014. K13 sequences from P falciparum infections were obtained mainly by passive case detection. We entered data into two geostatistical models to produce predictive maps of the estimated prevalence of mutations of the K13 propeller region across Myanmar. FINDINGS: Overall, 371 (39%) of 940 samples carried a K13-propeller mutation. We recorded 26 different mutations, including nine mutations not described previously in southeast Asia. In seven (70%) of the ten administrative regions of Myanmar, the combined K13-mutation prevalence was more than 20%. Geospatial mapping showed that the overall prevalence of K13 mutations exceeded 10% in much of the east and north of the country. In Homalin, Sagaing Region, 25 km from the Indian border, 21 (47%) of 45 parasite samples carried K13-propeller mutations. INTERPRETATION: Artemisinin resistance extends across much of Myanmar. We recorded P falciparum parasites carrying K13-propeller mutations at high prevalence next to the northwestern border with India. Appropriate therapeutic regimens should be tested urgently and implemented comprehensively if spread of artemisinin resistance to other regions is to be avoided. FUNDING: Wellcome Trust-Mahidol University-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Programme and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Duru V, Khim N, Leang R, Kim S, Domergue A, Kloeung N, Ke S, Chy S et al. 2015. Plasmodium falciparum dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine failures in Cambodia are associated with mutant K13 parasites presenting high survival rates in novel piperaquine in vitro assays: retrospective and prospective investigations. BMC Med, 13 (1), pp. 305. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The declining efficacy of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine against Plasmodium falciparum in Cambodia, along with increasing numbers of recrudescent cases, suggests resistance to both artemisinin and piperaquine. Available in vitro piperaquine susceptibility assays do not correlate with treatment outcome. A novel assay using a pharmacologically relevant piperaquine dose/time exposure was designed and its relevance explored in retrospective and prospective studies. METHODS: The piperaquine survival assay (PSA) exposed parasites to 200 nM piperaquine for 48 hours and monitored survival 24 hours later. The retrospective study tested 32 culture-adapted, C580Y-K13 mutant parasites collected at enrolment from patients treated with a 3-day course of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine and having presented or not with a recrudescence at day 42 (registered ACTRN12615000793516). The prospective study assessed ex vivo PSA survival rate alongside K13 polymorphism of isolates collected from patients enrolled in an open-label study with dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine for uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria in Cambodia (registered ACTRN12615000696594). RESULTS: All parasites from recrudescent cases had in vitro or ex vivo PSA survival rates ≥10%, a relevant cut-off value for piperaquine-resistance. Ex vivo PSA survival rates were higher for recrudescent than non-recrudescent cases (39.2% vs. 0.17%, P <1 × 10(-7)). Artemisinin-resistant K13 mutants with ex vivo PSA survival rates ≥10% were associated with 32-fold higher risk of recrudescence (95% CI, 4.5-224; P = 0.0005). CONCLUSION: PSA adequately captures the piperaquine resistance/recrudescence phenotype, a mainstay to identify molecular marker(s) and evaluate efficacy of alternative drugs. Combined ex vivo PSA and K13 genotyping provides a convenient monitor for both artemisinin and piperaquine resistance where dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine is used.

Worldwide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN) AL Dose Impact Study Group. 2015. The effect of dose on the antimalarial efficacy of artemether-lumefantrine: a systematic review and pooled analysis of individual patient data. Lancet Infect Dis, 15 (6), pp. 692-702. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Artemether-lumefantrine is the most widely used artemisinin-based combination therapy for malaria, although treatment failures occur in some regions. We investigated the effect of dosing strategy on efficacy in a pooled analysis from trials done in a wide range of malaria-endemic settings. METHODS: We searched PubMed for clinical trials that enrolled and treated patients with artemether-lumefantrine and were published from 1960 to December, 2012. We merged individual patient data from these trials by use of standardised methods. The primary endpoint was the PCR-adjusted risk of Plasmodium falciparum recrudescence by day 28. Secondary endpoints consisted of the PCR-adjusted risk of P falciparum recurrence by day 42, PCR-unadjusted risk of P falciparum recurrence by day 42, early parasite clearance, and gametocyte carriage. Risk factors for PCR-adjusted recrudescence were identified using Cox's regression model with frailty shared across the study sites. FINDINGS: We included 61 studies done between January, 1998, and December, 2012, and included 14,327 patients in our analyses. The PCR-adjusted therapeutic efficacy was 97·6% (95% CI 97·4-97·9) at day 28 and 96·0% (95·6-96·5) at day 42. After controlling for age and parasitaemia, patients prescribed a higher dose of artemether had a lower risk of having parasitaemia on day 1 (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 0·92, 95% CI 0·86-0·99 for every 1 mg/kg increase in daily artemether dose; p=0·024), but not on day 2 (p=0·69) or day 3 (0·087). In Asia, children weighing 10-15 kg who received a total lumefantrine dose less than 60 mg/kg had the lowest PCR-adjusted efficacy (91·7%, 95% CI 86·5-96·9). In Africa, the risk of treatment failure was greatest in malnourished children aged 1-3 years (PCR-adjusted efficacy 94·3%, 95% CI 92·3-96·3). A higher artemether dose was associated with a lower gametocyte presence within 14 days of treatment (adjusted OR 0·92, 95% CI 0·85-0·99; p=0·037 for every 1 mg/kg increase in total artemether dose). INTERPRETATION: The recommended dose of artemether-lumefantrine provides reliable efficacy in most patients with uncomplicated malaria. However, therapeutic efficacy was lowest in young children from Asia and young underweight children from Africa; a higher dose regimen should be assessed in these groups. FUNDING: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Newton PN, Schellenberg D, Ashley EA, Ravinetto R, Green MD, ter Kuile FO, Tabernero P, White NJ, Guerin PJ. 2015. Quality assurance of drugs used in clinical trials: proposal for adapting guidelines. BMJ, 350 (feb25 10), pp. h602. | Read more

Das D, Guerin PJ, Leroy S, Sayeed AA, Faiz MA. 2015. The Largest Ebola Outbreak– What Have We Learned So Far Journal of Medicine, 16 (1), pp. 1-4. | Read more

Ashley EA, Dhorda M, Fairhurst RM, Amaratunga C, Lim P, Suon S, Sreng S, Anderson JM et al. 2014. Spread of artemisinin resistance in Plasmodium falciparum malaria. N Engl J Med, 371 (5), pp. 411-423. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Artemisinin resistance in Plasmodium falciparum has emerged in Southeast Asia and now poses a threat to the control and elimination of malaria. Mapping the geographic extent of resistance is essential for planning containment and elimination strategies. METHODS: Between May 2011 and April 2013, we enrolled 1241 adults and children with acute, uncomplicated falciparum malaria in an open-label trial at 15 sites in 10 countries (7 in Asia and 3 in Africa). Patients received artesunate, administered orally at a daily dose of either 2 mg per kilogram of body weight per day or 4 mg per kilogram, for 3 days, followed by a standard 3-day course of artemisinin-based combination therapy. Parasite counts in peripheral-blood samples were measured every 6 hours, and the parasite clearance half-lives were determined. RESULTS: The median parasite clearance half-lives ranged from 1.9 hours in the Democratic Republic of Congo to 7.0 hours at the Thailand-Cambodia border. Slowly clearing infections (parasite clearance half-life >5 hours), strongly associated with single point mutations in the "propeller" region of the P. falciparum kelch protein gene on chromosome 13 (kelch13), were detected throughout mainland Southeast Asia from southern Vietnam to central Myanmar. The incidence of pretreatment and post-treatment gametocytemia was higher among patients with slow parasite clearance, suggesting greater potential for transmission. In western Cambodia, where artemisinin-based combination therapies are failing, the 6-day course of antimalarial therapy was associated with a cure rate of 97.7% (95% confidence interval, 90.9 to 99.4) at 42 days. CONCLUSIONS: Artemisinin resistance to P. falciparum, which is now prevalent across mainland Southeast Asia, is associated with mutations in kelch13. Prolonged courses of artemisinin-based combination therapies are currently efficacious in areas where standard 3-day treatments are failing. (Funded by the U.K. Department of International Development and others; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01350856.).

Venkatesan M, Gadalla NB, Stepniewska K, Dahal P, Nsanzabana C, Moriera C, Price RN, Mårtensson A et al. 2014. Polymorphisms in Plasmodium falciparum chloroquine resistance transporter and multidrug resistance 1 genes: parasite risk factors that affect treatment outcomes for P. falciparum malaria after artemether-lumefantrine and artesunate-amodiaquine. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 91 (4), pp. 833-843. | Show Abstract | Read more

Adequate clinical and parasitologic cure by artemisinin combination therapies relies on the artemisinin component and the partner drug. Polymorphisms in the Plasmodium falciparum chloroquine resistance transporter (pfcrt) and P. falciparum multidrug resistance 1 (pfmdr1) genes are associated with decreased sensitivity to amodiaquine and lumefantrine, but effects of these polymorphisms on therapeutic responses to artesunate-amodiaquine (ASAQ) and artemether-lumefantrine (AL) have not been clearly defined. Individual patient data from 31 clinical trials were harmonized and pooled by using standardized methods from the WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network. Data for more than 7,000 patients were analyzed to assess relationships between parasite polymorphisms in pfcrt and pfmdr1 and clinically relevant outcomes after treatment with AL or ASAQ. Presence of the pfmdr1 gene N86 (adjusted hazards ratio = 4.74, 95% confidence interval = 2.29 - 9.78, P < 0.001) and increased pfmdr1 copy number (adjusted hazards ratio = 6.52, 95% confidence interval = 2.36-17.97, P < 0.001 : were significant independent risk factors for recrudescence in patients treated with AL. AL and ASAQ exerted opposing selective effects on single-nucleotide polymorphisms in pfcrt and pfmdr1. Monitoring selection and responding to emerging signs of drug resistance are critical tools for preserving efficacy of artemisinin combination therapies; determination of the prevalence of at least pfcrt K76T and pfmdr1 N86Y should now be routine.

Kloprogge F, Jullien V, Piola P, Dhorda M, Muwanga S, Nosten F, Day NP, White NJ, Guerin PJ, Tarning J. 2014. Population pharmacokinetics of quinine in pregnant women with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Uganda. J Antimicrob Chemother, 69 (11), pp. 3033-3040. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVES: Oral quinine is used for the treatment of uncomplicated malaria during pregnancy, but few pharmacokinetic data are available for this population. Previous studies have reported a substantial effect of malaria on the pharmacokinetics of quinine resulting from increased α-1-acid glycoprotein levels and decreased cytochrome P450 3A4 activity. The aim of this study was to investigate the pharmacokinetic properties of oral quinine in pregnant women with uncomplicated malaria in Uganda using a population approach. METHODS: Data from 22 women in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria were analysed. Patients received quinine sulphate (10 mg of salt/kg) three times daily (0, 8 and 16 h) for 7 days. Plasma samples were collected daily and at frequent intervals after the first and last doses. A population pharmacokinetic model for quinine was developed accounting for different disposition, absorption, error and covariate models. RESULTS: Parasitaemia, as a time-varying covariate affecting relative bioavailability, and body temperature on admission as a covariate on elimination clearance, explained the higher exposure to quinine during acute malaria compared with the convalescent phase. Neither the estimated gestational age nor the trimester influenced the pharmacokinetic properties of quinine significantly. CONCLUSIONS: A population model was developed that adequately characterized quinine pharmacokinetics in pregnant Ugandan women with acute malaria. Quinine exposure was lower than previously reported in patients who were not pregnant. The measurement of free quinine concentration will be necessary to determine the therapeutic relevance of these observations.

Lourens C, Lindegardh N, Barnes KI, Guerin PJ, Sibley CH, White NJ, Tarning J. 2014. Benefits of a pharmacology antimalarial reference standard and proficiency testing program provided by the Worldwide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN). Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 58 (7), pp. 3889-3894. | Show Abstract | Read more

Comprehensive assessment of antimalarial drug resistance should include measurements of antimalarial blood or plasma concentrations in clinical trials and in individual assessments of treatment failure so that true resistance can be differentiated from inadequate drug exposure. Pharmacometric modeling is necessary to assess pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic relationships in different populations to optimize dosing. To accomplish both effectively and to allow comparison of data from different laboratories, it is essential that drug concentration measurement is accurate. Proficiency testing (PT) of laboratory procedures is necessary for verification of assay results. Within the Worldwide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN), the goal of the quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) program is to facilitate and sustain high-quality antimalarial assays. The QA/QC program consists of an international PT program for pharmacology laboratories and a reference material (RM) program for the provision of antimalarial drug standards, metabolites, and internal standards for laboratory use. The RM program currently distributes accurately weighed quantities of antimalarial drug standards, metabolites, and internal standards to 44 pharmacology, in vitro, and drug quality testing laboratories. The pharmacology PT program has sent samples to eight laboratories in four rounds of testing. WWARN technical experts have provided advice for correcting identified problems to improve performance of subsequent analysis and ultimately improved the quality of data. Many participants have demonstrated substantial improvements over subsequent rounds of PT. The WWARN QA/QC program has improved the quality and value of antimalarial drug measurement in laboratories globally. It is a model that has potential to be applied to strengthening laboratories more widely and improving the therapeutics of other infectious diseases.

Tabernero P, Fernández FM, Green M, Guerin PJ, Newton PN. 2014. Mind the gaps--the epidemiology of poor-quality anti-malarials in the malarious world--analysis of the WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network database. Malar J, 13 (1), pp. 139. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Poor quality medicines threaten the lives of millions of patients and are alarmingly common in many parts of the world. Nevertheless, the global extent of the problem remains unknown. Accurate estimates of the epidemiology of poor quality medicines are sparse and are influenced by sampling methodology and diverse chemical analysis techniques. In order to understand the existing data, the Antimalarial Quality Scientific Group at WWARN built a comprehensive, open-access, global database and linked Antimalarial Quality Surveyor, an online visualization tool. Analysis of the database is described here, the limitations of the studies and data reported, and their public health implications discussed. METHODS: The database collates customized summaries of 251 published anti-malarial quality reports in English, French and Spanish by time and location since 1946. It also includes information on assays to determine quality, sampling and medicine regulation. RESULTS: No publicly available reports for 60.6% (63) of the 104 malaria-endemic countries were found. Out of 9,348 anti-malarials sampled, 30.1% (2,813) failed chemical/packaging quality tests with 39.3% classified as falsified, 2.3% as substandard and 58.3% as poor quality without evidence available to categorize them as either substandard or falsified. Only 32.3% of the reports explicitly described their definitions of medicine quality and just 9.1% (855) of the samples collected in 4.6% (six) surveys were conducted using random sampling techniques. Packaging analysis was only described in 21.5% of publications and up to twenty wrong active ingredients were found in falsified anti-malarials. CONCLUSIONS: There are severe neglected problems with anti-malarial quality but there are important caveats to accurately estimate the prevalence and distribution of poor quality anti-malarials. The lack of reports in many malaria-endemic areas, inadequate sampling techniques and inadequate chemical analytical methods and instrumental procedures emphasizes the need to interpret medicine quality results with caution. The available evidence demonstrates the need for more investment to improve both sampling and analytical methodology and to achieve consensus in defining different types of poor quality medicines.

Taylor AR, Flegg JA, Nsobya SL, Yeka A, Kamya MR, Rosenthal PJ, Dorsey G, Sibley CH, Guerin PJ, Holmes CC. 2014. Estimation of malaria haplotype and genotype frequencies: a statistical approach to overcome the challenge associated with multiclonal infections. Malar J, 13 (1), pp. 102. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Reliable measures of anti-malarial resistance are crucial for malaria control. Resistance is typically a complex trait: multiple mutations in a single parasite (a haplotype or genotype) are necessary for elaboration of the resistant phenotype. The frequency of a genetic motif (proportion of parasite clones in the parasite population that carry a given allele, haplotype or genotype) is a useful measure of resistance. In areas of high endemicity, malaria patients generally harbour multiple parasite clones; they have multiplicities of infection (MOIs) greater than one. However, most standard experimental procedures only allow measurement of marker prevalence (proportion of patient blood samples that test positive for a given mutation or combination of mutations), not frequency. It is misleading to compare marker prevalence between sites that have different mean MOIs; frequencies are required instead. METHODS: A Bayesian statistical model was developed to estimate Plasmodium falciparum genetic motif frequencies from prevalence data collected in the field. To assess model performance and computational speed, a detailed simulation study was implemented. Application of the model was tested using datasets from five sites in Uganda. The datasets included prevalence data on markers of resistance to sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine and an average MOI estimate for each study site. RESULTS: The simulation study revealed that the genetic motif frequencies that were estimated using the model were more accurate and precise than conventional estimates based on direct counting. Importantly, the model did not require measurements of the MOI in each patient; it used the average MOI in the patient population. Furthermore, if a dataset included partially genotyped patient blood samples, the model imputed the data that were missing. Using the model and the Ugandan data, genotype frequencies were estimated and four biologically relevant genotypes were identified. CONCLUSIONS: The model allows fast, accurate, reliable estimation of the frequency of genetic motifs associated with resistance to anti-malarials using prevalence data collected from malaria patients. The model does not require per-patient MOI measurements and can easily analyse data from five markers. The model will be a valuable tool for monitoring markers of anti-malarial drug resistance, including markers of resistance to artemisinin derivatives and partner drugs.

Lubell Y, Dondorp A, Guérin PJ, Drake T, Meek S, Ashley E, Day NP, White NJ, White LJ. 2014. Artemisinin resistance--modelling the potential human and economic costs. Malar J, 13 (1), pp. 452. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Artemisinin combination therapy is recommended as first-line treatment for falciparum malaria across the endemic world and is increasingly relied upon for treating vivax malaria where chloroquine is failing. Artemisinin resistance was first detected in western Cambodia in 2007, and is now confirmed in the Greater Mekong region, raising the spectre of a malaria resurgence that could undo a decade of progress in control, and threaten the feasibility of elimination. The magnitude of this threat has not been quantified. METHODS: This analysis compares the health and economic consequences of two future scenarios occurring once artemisinin-based treatments are available with high coverage. In the first scenario, artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) is largely effective in the management of uncomplicated malaria and severe malaria is treated with artesunate, while in the second scenario ACT are failing at a rate of 30%, and treatment of severe malaria reverts to quinine. The model is applied to all malaria-endemic countries using their specific estimates for malaria incidence, transmission intensity and GDP. The model describes the direct medical costs for repeated diagnosis and retreatment of clinical failures as well as admission costs for severe malaria. For productivity losses, the conservative friction costing method is used, which assumes a limited economic impact for individuals that are no longer economically active until they are replaced from the unemployment pool. RESULTS: Using conservative assumptions and parameter estimates, the model projects an excess of 116,000 deaths annually in the scenario of widespread artemisinin resistance. The predicted medical costs for retreatment of clinical failures and for management of severe malaria exceed US$32 million per year. Productivity losses resulting from excess morbidity and mortality were estimated at US$385 million for each year during which failing ACT remained in use as first-line treatment. CONCLUSIONS: These 'ballpark' figures for the magnitude of the health and economic threat posed by artemisinin resistance add weight to the call for urgent action to detect the emergence of resistance as early as possible and contain its spread from known locations in the Mekong region to elsewhere in the endemic world.

Chantler T, Cheah PY, Miiro G, Hantrakum V, Nanvubya A, Ayuo E, Kivaya E, Kidola J et al. 2014. International health research monitoring: exploring a scientific and a cooperative approach using participatory action research. BMJ Open, 4 (2), pp. e004104. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate and determine the value of monitoring models developed by the Mahidol Oxford Tropical Research Unit and the East African Consortium for Clinical Research, consider how this can be measured and explore monitors' and investigators' experiences of and views about the nature, purpose and practice of monitoring. RESEARCH DESIGN: A case study approach was used within the context of participatory action research because one of the aims was to guide and improve practice. 34 interviews, five focus groups and observations of monitoring practice were conducted. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Fieldwork occurred in the places where the monitoring models are coordinated and applied in Thailand, Cambodia, Uganda and Kenya. Participants included those coordinating the monitoring schemes, monitors, senior investigators and research staff. ANALYSIS: Transcribed textual data from field notes, interviews and focus groups was imported into a qualitative data software program (NVIVO V. 10) and analysed inductively and thematically by a qualitative researcher. The initial coding framework was reviewed internally and two main categories emerged from the subsequent interrogation of the data. RESULTS: The categories that were identified related to the conceptual framing and nature of monitoring, and the practice of monitoring, including relational factors. Particular emphasis was given to the value of a scientific and cooperative style of monitoring as a means of enhancing data quality, trust and transparency. In terms of practice the primary purpose of monitoring was defined as improving the conduct of health research and increasing the capacity of researchers and trial sites. CONCLUSIONS: The models studied utilise internal and network wide expertise to improve the ethics and quality of clinical research. They demonstrate how monitoring can be a scientific and constructive exercise rather than a threatening process. The value of cooperative relations needs to be given more emphasis in monitoring activities, which seek to ensure that research protects human rights and produces reliable data.

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Scopus

Achan J, Adam I, Arinaitwe E, Ashley EA, Awab GR, Ba MS, Barnes KI, Bassat Q et al. 2013. The Effect of Dosing Regimens on the Antimalarial Efficacy of Dihydroartemisinin-Piperaquine: A Pooled Analysis of Individual Patient Data PLOS MEDICINE, 10 (12), pp. e1001564-e1001564. | Show Abstract | Read more

Background:Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DP) is increasingly recommended for antimalarial treatment in many endemic countries; however, concerns have been raised over its potential under dosing in young children. We investigated the influence of different dosing schedules on DP's clinical efficacy.Methods and Findings:A systematic search of the literature was conducted to identify all studies published between 1960 and February 2013, in which patients were enrolled and treated with DP. Principal investigators were approached and invited to share individual patient data with the WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN). Data were pooled using a standardised methodology. Univariable and multivariable risk factors for parasite recrudescence were identified using a Cox's regression model with shared frailty across the study sites. Twenty-four published and two unpublished studies (n = 7,072 patients) were included in the analysis. After correcting for reinfection by parasite genotyping, Kaplan-Meier survival estimates were 97.7% (95% CI 97.3%-98.1%) at day 42 and 97.2% (95% CI 96.7%-97.7%) at day 63. Overall 28.6% (979/3,429) of children aged 1 to 5 years received a total dose of piperaquine below 48 mg/kg (the lower limit recommended by WHO); this risk was 2.3-2.9-fold greater compared to that in the other age groups and was associated with reduced efficacy at day 63 (94.4% [95% CI 92.6%-96.2%], p<0.001). After adjusting for confounding factors, the mg/kg dose of piperaquine was found to be a significant predictor for recrudescence, the risk increasing by 13% (95% CI 5.0%-21%) for every 5 mg/kg decrease in dose; p = 0.002. In a multivariable model increasing the target minimum total dose of piperaquine in children aged 1 to 5 years old from 48 mg/kg to 59 mg/kg would halve the risk of treatment failure and cure at least 95% of patients; such an increment was not associated with gastrointestinal toxicity in the ten studies in which this could be assessed.Conclusions:DP demonstrates excellent efficacy in a wide range of transmission settings; however, treatment failure is associated with a lower dose of piperaquine, particularly in young children, suggesting potential for further dose optimisation.Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary. © 2013 Price et al.

Flegg JA, Guérin PJ, Nosten F, Ashley EA, Phyo AP, Dondorp AM, Fairhurst RM, Socheat D et al. 2013. Optimal sampling designs for estimation of Plasmodium falciparum clearance rates in patients treated with artemisinin derivatives. Malar J, 12 (1), pp. 411. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The emergence of Plasmodium falciparum resistance to artemisinins in Southeast Asia threatens the control of malaria worldwide. The pharmacodynamic hallmark of artemisinin derivatives is rapid parasite clearance (a short parasite half-life), therefore, the in vivo phenotype of slow clearance defines the reduced susceptibility to the drug. Measurement of parasite counts every six hours during the first three days after treatment have been recommended to measure the parasite clearance half-life, but it remains unclear whether simpler sampling intervals and frequencies might also be sufficient to reliably estimate this parameter. METHODS: A total of 2,746 parasite density-time profiles were selected from 13 clinical trials in Thailand, Cambodia, Mali, Vietnam, and Kenya. In these studies, parasite densities were measured every six hours until negative after treatment with an artemisinin derivative (alone or in combination with a partner drug). The WWARN Parasite Clearance Estimator (PCE) tool was used to estimate "reference" half-lives from these six-hourly measurements. The effect of four alternative sampling schedules on half-life estimation was investigated, and compared to the reference half-life (time zero, 6, 12, 24 (A1); zero, 6, 18, 24 (A2); zero, 12, 18, 24 (A3) or zero, 12, 24 (A4) hours and then every 12 hours). Statistical bootstrap methods were used to estimate the sampling distribution of half-lives for parasite populations with different geometric mean half-lives. A simulation study was performed to investigate a suite of 16 potential alternative schedules and half-life estimates generated by each of the schedules were compared to the "true" half-life. The candidate schedules in the simulation study included (among others) six-hourly sampling, schedule A1, schedule A4, and a convenience sampling schedule at six, seven, 24, 25, 48 and 49 hours. RESULTS: The median (range) parasite half-life for all clinical studies combined was 3.1 (0.7-12.9) hours. Schedule A1 consistently performed the best, and schedule A4 the worst, both for the individual patient estimates and for the populations generated with the bootstrapping algorithm. In both cases, the differences between the reference and alternative schedules decreased as half-life increased. In the simulation study, 24-hourly sampling performed the worst, and six-hourly sampling the best. The simulation study confirmed that more dense parasite sampling schedules are required to accurately estimate half-life for profiles with short half-life (≤ three hours) and/or low initial parasite density (≤ 10,000 per μL). Among schedules in the simulation study with six or fewer measurements in the first 48 hours, a schedule with measurements at times (time windows) of 0 (0-2), 6 (4-8), 12 (10-14), 24 (22-26), 36 (34-36) and 48 (46-50) hours, or at times 6, 7 (two samples in time window 5-8), 24, 25 (two samples during time 23-26), and 48, 49 (two samples during time 47-50) hours, until negative most accurately estimated the "true" half-life. For a given schedule, continuing sampling after two days had little effect on the estimation of half-life, provided that adequate sampling was performed in the first two days and the half-life was less than three hours. If the measured parasitaemia at two days exceeded 1,000 per μL, continued sampling for at least once a day was needed for accurate half-life estimates. CONCLUSIONS: This study has revealed important insights on sampling schedules for accurate and reliable estimation of Plasmodium falciparum half-life following treatment with an artemisinin derivative (alone or in combination with a partner drug). Accurate measurement of short half-lives (rapid clearance) requires more dense sampling schedules (with more than twice daily sampling). A more intensive sampling schedule is, therefore, recommended in locations where P. falciparum susceptibility to artemisinins is not known and the necessary resources are available. Counting parasite density at six hours is important, and less frequent sampling is satisfactory for estimating long parasite half-lives in areas where artemisinin resistance is present.

Flegg JA, Metcalf CJ, Gharbi M, Venkatesan M, Shewchuk T, Hopkins Sibley C, Guerin PJ. 2013. Trends in antimalarial drug use in Africa. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 89 (5), pp. 857-865. | Show Abstract | Read more

Resistance to chloroquine (CQ) and sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) led the World Health Organization (WHO) to recommend changes in national drug policies. The time between policy changes and their implementation profoundly affects program impact. We developed a model based on data on antimalarial treatments, extracted from household surveys and national antimalarial policy information from the literature. Drug use in each country during the time period 1999-2011 and the trend in reduction of CQ use after policy change were estimated. The SP use estimates were correlated with the prevalence of a molecular marker associated with SP resistance. There was no spatial pattern in the country-level rate of reduction of CQ use, after policy change. In East Africa SP drug use was strongly correlated to resistance. If artemisinin resistance spreads to, or emerges in, Africa this methodology will be a valuable tool to estimate actual drug use and its impact on changes in drug efficacy.

Tarning J, Kloprogge F, Dhorda M, Jullien V, Nosten F, White NJ, Guerin PJ, Piola P. 2013. Pharmacokinetic properties of artemether, dihydroartemisinin, lumefantrine, and quinine in pregnant women with uncomplicated plasmodium falciparum malaria in Uganda. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 57 (10), pp. 5096-5103. | Show Abstract | Read more

Pregnancy alters the pharmacokinetic properties of many drugs used in the treatment of malaria, usually resulting in lower drug exposures. This increases the risks of treatment failure, adverse outcomes for the fetus, and the development of resistance. The pharmacokinetic properties of artemether and its principal metabolite dihydroartemisinin (n = 21), quinine (n = 21), and lumefantrine (n = 26) in pregnant Ugandan women were studied. Lumefantrine pharmacokinetics in a nonpregnant control group (n = 17) were also studied. Frequently sampled patient data were evaluated with noncompartmental analysis. No significant correlation was observed between estimated gestational age and artemether, dihydroartemisinin, lumefantrine, or quinine exposures. Artemether/dihydroartemisinin and quinine exposures were generally low in these pregnant women compared to values reported previously for nonpregnant patients. Median day 7 lumefantrine concentrations were 488 (range, 30.7 to 3,550) ng/ml in pregnant women compared to 720 (339 to 2,150) ng/ml in nonpregnant women (P = 0.128). There was no statistical difference in total lumefantrine exposure or maximum concentration. More studies with appropriate control groups in larger series are needed to characterize the degree to which pregnant women are underdosed with current antimalarial dosing regimens.

Schramm B, Valeh P, Baudin E, Mazinda CS, Smith R, Pinoges L, Dhorda M, Boum Y et al. 2013. Efficacy of artesunate-amodiaquine and artemether-lumefantrine fixed-dose combinations for the treatment of uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria among children aged six to 59 months in Nimba County, Liberia: an open-label randomized non-inferiority trial. Malar J, 12 (1), pp. 251. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Prospective efficacy monitoring of anti-malarial treatments is imperative for timely detection of resistance development. The in vivo efficacy of artesunate-amodiaquine (ASAQ) fixed-dose combination (FDC) was compared to that of artemether-lumefantrine (AL) among children aged six to 59 months in Nimba County, Liberia, where Plasmodium falciparum malaria is endemic and efficacy data are scarce. METHODS: An open-label, randomized controlled non-inferiority trial compared the genotyping adjusted day 42 cure rates of ASAQ FDC (ASAQ Winthrop®) to AL (Coartem®) in 300 children aged six to 59 months with uncomplicated falciparum malaria. Inclusion was between December 2008 and May 2009. Randomization (1:1) was to a three-day observed oral regimen (ASAQ: once a day; AL: twice a day, given with fatty food). Day 7 desethylamodiaquine and lumefantrine blood-concentrations were also measured. RESULTS: The day 42 genotyping-adjusted cure rate estimates were 97.3% [95% CI: 91.6-99.1] for ASAQ and 94.2% [88.1-97.2] for AL (Kaplan-Meier survival estimates). The difference in day 42 cure rates was -3.1% [upper limit 95% CI: 1.2%]. These results were confirmed by observed proportion of patients cured at day 42 on the per-protocol population. Parasite clearance was 100% (ASAQ) and 99.3% (AL) on day 3. The probability to remain free of re-infection was 0.55 [95% CI: 0.46-0.63] (ASAQ) and 0.66 [0.57-0.73] (AL) (p = 0.017). CONCLUSIONS: Both ASAQ and AL were highly efficacious and ASAQ was non-inferior to AL. The proportion of patients with re-infection was high in both arms in this highly endemic setting. In 2010, ASAQ FDC was adopted as the first-line national treatment in Liberia. Continuous efficacy monitoring is recommended. TRIAL REGISTRATION: The protocols were registered with Current Controlled Trials, under the identifier numbers ISRCTN51688713, ISRCTN40020296.

Flegg JA, Patil AP, Venkatesan M, Roper C, Naidoo I, Hay SI, Sibley CH, Guerin PJ. 2013. Spatiotemporal mathematical modelling of mutations of the dhps gene in African Plasmodium falciparum. Malar J, 12 (1), pp. 249. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Plasmodium falciparum has repeatedly evolved resistance to first-line anti-malarial drugs, thwarting efforts to control and eliminate the disease and in some period of time this contributed largely to an increase in mortality. Here a mathematical model was developed to map the spatiotemporal trends in the distribution of mutations in the P. falciparum dihydropteroate synthetase (dhps) gene that confer resistance to the anti-malarial sulphadoxine, and are a useful marker for the combination of alleles in dhfr and dhps that is highly correlated with resistance to sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP). The aim of this study was to present a proof of concept for spatiotemporal modelling of trends in anti-malarial drug resistance that can be applied to monitor trends in resistance to components of artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) or other anti-malarials, as they emerge or spread. METHODS: Prevalence measurements of single nucleotide polymorphisms in three codon positions of the dihydropteroate synthetase (dhps) gene from published studies of dhps mutations across Africa were used. A model-based geostatistics approach was adopted to create predictive surfaces of the dhps540E mutation over the spatial domain of sub-Saharan Africa from 1990-2010. The statistical model was implemented within a Bayesian framework and hence quantified the associated uncertainty of the prediction of the prevalence of the dhps540E mutation in sub-Saharan Africa. CONCLUSIONS: The maps presented visualize the changing prevalence of the dhps540E mutation in sub-Saharan Africa. These allow prediction of space-time trends in the parasite resistance to SP, and provide probability distributions of resistance prevalence in places where no data are available as well as insight on the spread of resistance in a way that the data alone do not allow. The results of this work will be extended to design optimal sampling strategies for the future molecular surveillance of resistance, providing a proof of concept for similar techniques to design optimal strategies to monitor resistance to ACT.

Schramm B, Valeh P, Baudin E, Mazinda CS, Smith R, Pinoges L, Sundaygar T, Zolia YM et al. 2013. Tolerability and safety of artesunate-amodiaquine and artemether-lumefantrine fixed dose combinations for the treatment of uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria: two open-label, randomized trials in Nimba County, Liberia. Malar J, 12 (1), pp. 250. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Safety surveillance of widely used artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) is essential, but tolerability data in the over five years age group are largely anecdotal. METHODS: Two open-label, randomized trials were conducted in Nimba County, Liberia: i) the main tolerability trial with 1,000 Plasmodium falciparum malaria patients aged over five years (Study-T), and, ii) an efficacy trial with a secondary objective of collecting tolerability data among 300 children age six to 59 months (Study-E). In both studies patients were randomized to fixed-dose artesunate-amodiaquine (ASAQ Winthrop®) or artemether-lumefantrine (AL, Coartem®), respectively. Clinical- and laboratory-adverse events (AEs) were recorded until day 28. RESULTS: Study-T: most patients experienced at least one AE. Severe AEs were few, primarily asymptomatic blood system disorders or increased liver enzyme values. No treatment or study discontinuation occurred. Mild or moderate fatigue (39.8% vs 16.3%, p < 0.001), vomiting (7.1% vs 1.6%, p < 0.001), nausea (3.2% vs 1.0%, p = 0.01), and anaemia (14.9% vs 9.8%, p = 0.01) were more frequently recorded in the ASAQ versus AL arm. Study-E: mild or moderate AEs were common, including anaemia, fatigue, vomiting or diarrhoea. The few severe events were asymptomatic blood system disorders and four clinical events (pneumonia, malaria, vomiting and stomatitis). CONCLUSION: Both ASAQ and AL were well tolerated in patients of all age groups. No unexpected AEs occurred. Certain mild or moderate AEs were more frequent in the ASAQ arm. Standardised safety surveillance should continue for all forms of ACT. TRIAL REGISTRATION: The protocols were registered with Current Controlled Trials, under the identifier numbers ISRCTN40020296, ISRCTN51688713, (http://www.controlled-trials.com).

Woodrow CJ, Dahlström S, Cooksey R, Flegg JA, Le Nagard H, Mentré F, Murillo C, Ménard D et al. 2013. High-throughput analysis of antimalarial susceptibility data by the WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN) in vitro analysis and reporting tool. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 57 (7), pp. 3121-3130. | Show Abstract | Read more

Assessment of in vitro susceptibility is a fundamental component of antimalarial surveillance studies, but wide variations in the measurement of parasite growth and the calculation of inhibitory constants make comparisons of data from different laboratories difficult. Here we describe a Web-based, high-throughput in vitro analysis and reporting tool (IVART) generating inhibitory constants for large data sets. Fourteen primary data sets examining laboratory-determined susceptibility to artemisinin derivatives and artemisinin combination therapy partner drugs were collated from 11 laboratories. Drug concentrations associated with half-maximal inhibition of growth (IC50s) were determined by a modified sigmoid Emax model-fitting algorithm, allowing standardized analysis of 7,350 concentration-inhibition assays involving 1,592 isolates. Examination of concentration-inhibition data revealed evidence of apparent paradoxical growth at high concentrations of nonartemisinin drugs, supporting amendment of the method for calculating the maximal drug effect in each assay. Criteria for defining more-reliable IC50s based on estimated confidence intervals and growth ratios improved correlation coefficients for the drug pairs mefloquine-quinine and chloroquine-desethylamodiaquine in 9 of 11 and 8 of 8 data sets, respectively. Further analysis showed that maximal drug inhibition was higher for artemisinins than for other drugs, particularly in ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay)-based assays, a finding consistent with the earlier onset of action of these drugs in the parasite life cycle. This is the first high-throughput analytical approach to apply consistent constraints and reliability criteria to large, diverse antimalarial susceptibility data sets. The data also illustrate the distinct biological properties of artemisinins and underline the need to apply more sensitive approaches to assessing in vitro susceptibility to these drugs.

Das D, Price RN, Bethell D, Guerin PJ, Stepniewska K. 2013. Early parasitological response following artemisinin-containing regimens: a critical review of the literature. Malar J, 12 (1), pp. 125. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Parasitaemia on Day 3 has been proposed as a useful alert of potential artemisinin resistance, however, the normal variation of parasite clearance observed in artemisinin-based combination therapy clinical trials is poorly documented. METHODS: The trends in early parasitological response following treatment with an artemisinin anti-malarial regimen were reviewed. A PubMed literature search identified all studies using an artemisinin regimen for uncomplicated falciparum malaria published between January 2000 and December 2011. Data from clinical studies were extracted for analysis using a standardized questionnaire. RESULTS: In total 65,078 patients were enrolled into 213 clinical trials with 413 treatment arms containing either an artemisinin derivative alone (n=26) or in combination with a partner drug (n=387). The proportion of patients remaining parasitaemic at 24, 48 and 72 hours was documented in 115 (28%), 167 (40%) and 153 (37%) treatment arms, respectively. Excluding resistance studies in Cambodia, the median proportion of patients still parasitaemic was 53.8% [range 3-95, IQR=30.5-69.2] on Day 1, 6% [range 0-65.9, IQR=2-11.5] on Day 2 and 0 [range 0-12.6, IQR=0-2] on Day 3. Comparing studies from 2000 to 2005 and 2006 to 2011, the median proportion of patients reported to remain parasitaemic at 72 hours decreased in Africa (1.2% vs 0%, p=0.007), but increased in Asia (0.4% vs 3.9%, p=0.076). In 95% of studies the proportion of patients with peripheral parasitaemia was less than 6% at 72 hours. CONCLUSIONS: These results highlight the normal distribution of early parasitological responses following ACT, and the influence that heterogeneity in study design, host and parasite factors have in confounding a surveillance system based on Day 3 parasite positivity. Greater understanding of factors influencing parasite clearance is crucial, but will require analysis of pooled data from individual patient records.

Gharbi M, Flegg JA, Hubert V, Kendjo E, Metcalf JE, Bertaux L, Guérin PJ, Le Bras J et al. 2013. Longitudinal study assessing the return of chloroquine susceptibility of Plasmodium falciparum in isolates from travellers returning from West and Central Africa, 2000-2011. Malar J, 12 (1), pp. 35. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Chloroquine (CQ) was the main malaria therapy worldwide from the 1940s until the 1990s. Following the emergence of CQ-resistant Plasmodium falciparum, most African countries discontinued the use of CQ, and now promote artemisinin-based combination therapy as the first-line treatment. This change was generally initiated during the last decade in West and Central Africa. The aim of this study is to describe the changes in CQ susceptibility in this African region, using travellers returning from this region as a sentinel system. METHODS: The study was conducted by the Malaria National Reference Centre, France. The database collated the pfcrtK76T molecular marker for CQ susceptibility and the in vitro response to CQ of parasites from travellers' isolates returning from Senegal, Mali, Ivory Coast or Cameroon. As a proxy of drug pressure, data regarding CQ intake in febrile children were collated for the study period. Logistic regression models were used to detect trends in the proportions of CQ resistant isolates. RESULTS: A total of 2874 parasite isolates were genotyped between 2000-2011. The prevalence of the pfcrt76T mutant genotype significantly decreased for Senegal (from 78% to 47%), Ivory Coast (from 63% to 37%), Cameroon (from 90% to 59%) and remained stable for Mali. The geometric mean of the 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) of CQ in vitro susceptibility and the proportion of resistant isolates (defining resistance as an IC50 value > 100 nM) significantly decreased for Senegal (from 86 nM (59%) to 39 nM (25%)), Mali (from 84 nM (50%) to 51 nM (31%)), Ivory Coast (from 75 nM (59%) to 29 nM (16%)) and Cameroon (from 181 nM (75%) to 51 nM (37%)). Both analyses (molecular and in vitro susceptibility) were performed for the 2004-2011 period, after the four countries had officially discontinued CQ and showed an accelerated decline of the resistant isolates for the four countries. Meanwhile, CQ use among children significantly deceased in this region (fixed effects slope = -0.3, p < 10-3). CONCLUSIONS: An increase in CQ susceptibility following official withdrawal of the drug was observed in travellers returning from West and Central African countries. The same trends were observed for molecular and in vitro analysis between 2004-2011 and they correlated to the decrease of the drug pressure.

De Beaudrap P, Turyakira E, White LJ, Nabasumba C, Tumwebaze B, Muehlenbachs A, Guérin PJ, Boum Y, McGready R, Piola P. 2013. Impact of malaria during pregnancy on pregnancy outcomes in a Ugandan prospective cohort with intensive malaria screening and prompt treatment. Malar J, 12 (1), pp. 139. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Malaria in pregnancy (MiP) is a major public health problem in endemic areas of sub-Saharan Africa and has important consequences on birth outcome. Because MiP is a complex phenomenon and malaria epidemiology is rapidly changing, additional evidence is still required to understand how best to control malaria. This study followed a prospective cohort of pregnant women who had access to intensive malaria screening and prompt treatment to identify factors associated with increased risk of MiP and to analyse how various characteristics of MiP affect delivery outcomes. METHODS: Between October 2006 and May 2009, 1,218 pregnant women were enrolled in a prospective cohort. After an initial assessment, they were screened weekly for malaria. At delivery, blood smears were obtained from the mother, placenta, cord and newborn. Multivariate analyses were performed to analyse the association between mothers' characteristics and malaria risk, as well as between MiP and birth outcome, length and weight at birth. This study is a secondary analysis of a trial registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00495508. RESULTS: Overall, 288/1,069 (27%) mothers had 345 peripheral malaria infections. The risk of peripheral malaria was higher in mothers who were younger, infected with HIV, had less education, lived in rural areas or reported no bed net use, whereas the risk of placental infection was associated with more frequent malaria infections and with infection during late pregnancy. The risk of pre-term delivery and of miscarriage was increased in mothers infected with HIV, living in rural areas and with MiP occurring within two weeks of delivery.In adjusted analysis, birth weight but not length was reduced in babies of mothers exposed to MiP (-60 g, 95%CI: -120 to 0 for at least one infection and -150 g, 95%CI: -280 to -20 for >1 infections). CONCLUSIONS: In this study, the timing, parasitaemia level and number of peripherally-detected malaria infections, but not the presence of fever, were associated with adverse birth outcomes. Hence, prompt malaria detection and treatment should be offered to pregnant women regardless of symptoms or other preventive measures used during pregnancy, and with increased focus on mothers living in remote areas.

Page AL, de Rekeneire N, Sayadi S, Aberrane S, Janssens AC, Rieux C, Djibo A, Manuguerra JC et al. 2013. Infections in children admitted with complicated severe acute malnutrition in Niger. PLoS One, 8 (7), pp. e68699. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Although malnutrition affects thousands of children throughout the Sahel each year and predisposes them to infections, there is little data on the etiology of infections in these populations. We present a clinical and biological characterization of infections in hospitalized children with complicated severe acute malnutrition (SAM) in Maradi, Niger. METHODS: Children with complicated SAM hospitalized in the intensive care unit of a therapeutic feeding center, with no antibiotics in the previous 7 days, were included. A clinical examination, blood, urine and stool cultures, and chest radiography were performed systematically on admission. RESULTS: Among the 311 children included in the study, gastroenteritis was the most frequent clinical diagnosis on admission, followed by respiratory tract infections and malaria. Blood or urine culture was positive in 17% and 16% of cases, respectively, and 36% had abnormal chest radiography. Enterobacteria were sensitive to most antibiotics, except amoxicillin and cotrimoxazole. Twenty-nine (9%) children died, most frequently from sepsis. Clinical signs were poor indicators of infection and initial diagnoses correlated poorly with biologically or radiography-confirmed diagnoses. CONCLUSIONS: These data confirm the high level of infections and poor correlation with clinical signs in children with complicated SAM, and provide antibiotic resistance profiles from an area with limited microbiological data. These results contribute unique data to the ongoing debate on the use and choice of broad-spectrum antibiotics as first-line treatment in children with complicated SAM and reinforce the call for an update of international guidelines on management of complicated SAM based on more recent data.

Nacher M, Guérin PJ, Demar-Pierre M, Djossou F, Nosten F, Carme B. 2013. Made in Europe: will artemisinin resistance emerge in French Guiana? Malar J, 12 (1), pp. 152. | Show Abstract | Read more

Resistance to artemisinin casts a shadow on the fight against malaria. The importance of illegal gold miners and of malaria in isolated regions of French Guiana constitutes a threat that endangers the fight against malaria in the Amazon. The hurdles of French laws and the remoteness of the territory from France make it impossible for the system to adapt to the problem of total inaccessibility of an important part of the malaria problem. Transmission is high in these areas and gold miners self-medicate with erratic regimens of artemisinin combinations, thus creating perfect conditions for the emergence of resistance. What needs to be done is being done, but within the limits of national law, with some results. However, facing the same difficult problem, Suriname shows more flexibility and is doing much better than French Guiana despite having lower resources. Local authorities in French Guiana cannot overrule the laws that block appropriate malaria care from reaching a third of malaria-exposed persons. Thus the health authorities in France should take immediate calibrated legislative and financial measures to avoid a predictable disaster.

Kloprogge F, Piola P, Dhorda M, Muwanga S, Turyakira E, Apinan S, Lindegårdh N, Nosten F et al. 2013. Population Pharmacokinetics of Lumefantrine in Pregnant and Nonpregnant Women With Uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum Malaria in Uganda. CPT Pharmacometrics Syst Pharmacol, 2 (11), pp. e83. | Show Abstract | Read more

Pregnancy alters the pharmacokinetic properties of many antimalarial compounds. The objective of this study was to evaluate the pharmacokinetic properties of lumefantrine in pregnant and nonpregnant women with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Uganda after a standard fixed oral artemether-lumefantrine treatment. Dense venous (n = 26) and sparse capillary (n = 90) lumefantrine samples were drawn from pregnant patients. A total of 17 nonpregnant women contributed with dense venous lumefantrine samples. Lumefantrine pharmacokinetics was best described by a flexible absorption model with multiphasic disposition. Pregnancy and body temperature had a significant impact on the pharmacokinetic properties of lumefantrine. Simulations from the final model indicated 27% lower day 7 concentrations in pregnant women compared with nonpregnant women and a decreased median time of 0.92 and 0.42 days above previously defined critical concentration cutoff values (280 and 175 ng/ml, respectively). The standard artemether-lumefantrine dose regimen in P. falciparum malaria may need reevaluation in nonimmune pregnant women.CPT: Pharmacometrics & Systems Pharmacology (2013) 2, e83; doi:10.1038/psp.2013.59; advance online publication 13 November 2013.

Gharbi M, Flegg JA, Pradines B, Berenger A, Ndiaye M, Djimdé AA, Roper C, Hubert V et al. 2013. Surveillance of travellers: an additional tool for tracking antimalarial drug resistance in endemic countries. PLoS One, 8 (10), pp. e77775. | Show Abstract | Read more

INTRODUCTION: There are growing concerns about the emergence of resistance to artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs). Since the widespread adoption of ACTs, there has been a decrease in the systematic surveillance of antimalarial drug resistance in many malaria-endemic countries. The aim of this work was to test whether data on travellers returning from Africa with malaria could serve as an additional surveillance system of local information sources for the emergence of drug resistance in endemic-countries. METHODOLOGY: Data were collected from travellers with symptomatic Plasmodium falciparum malaria returning from Senegal (n = 1,993), Mali (n = 2,372), Cote d'Ivoire (n = 4,778) or Cameroon (n = 3,272) and recorded in the French Malaria Reference Centre during the period 1996-2011. Temporal trends of the proportion of parasite isolates that carried the mutant genotype, pfcrt 76T, a marker of resistance to chloroquine (CQ) and pfdhfr 108N, a marker of resistance to pyrimethamine, were compared for travellers and within-country surveys that were identified through a literature review in PubMed. The in vitro response to CQ was also compared between these two groups for parasites from Senegal. RESULTS: The trends in the proportion of parasites that carried pfcrt 76T, and pfdhfr 108N, were compared for parasites from travellers and patients within-country using the slopes of the curves over time; no significant differences in the trends were found for any of the 4 countries. These results were supported by in vitro analysis of parasites from the field in Senegal and travellers returning to France, where the trends were also not significantly different. CONCLUSION: The results have not shown different trends in resistance between parasites derived from travellers or from parasites within-country. This work highlights the value of an international database of drug responses in travellers as an additional tool to assess the emergence of drug resistance in endemic areas where information is limited.

Talisuna AO, Karema C, Ogutu B, Juma E, Logedi J, Nyandigisi A, Mulenga M, Mbacham WF et al. 2012. Mitigating the threat of artemisinin resistance in Africa: improvement of drug-resistance surveillance and response systems. Lancet Infect Dis, 12 (11), pp. 888-896. | Show Abstract | Read more

Artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria has emerged in western Cambodia and has been detected in western Thailand. The situation is ominously reminiscent of the emergence of resistance to chloroquine and to sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine several decades ago. Artemisinin resistance is a major threat to global public health, with the most severe potential effects in sub-Saharan Africa, where the disease burden is highest and systems for monitoring and containment of resistance are inadequate. The mechanisms that underlie artemisinin resistance are not fully understood. The main phenotypic trait associated with resistance is a substantial delay in parasite clearance, so far reported in southeast Asia but not in Africa. One of the pillars of the WHO global plan for artemisinin resistance containment is to increase monitoring and surveillance. In this Personal View, we propose strategies that should be adopted by malaria-endemic countries in Africa: resource mobilisation to reactivate regional surveillance networks, establishment of baseline parasite clearance profiles to serve as benchmarks to track emerging artemisinin resistance, improved data sharing to allow pooled analyses to identify rare events, modelling of risk factors for drug resistance, and development and validation of new approaches to monitor resistance.

Tarning J, Kloprogge F, Piola P, Dhorda M, Muwanga S, Turyakira E, Nuengchamnong N, Nosten F et al. 2012. Population pharmacokinetics of Artemether and dihydroartemisinin in pregnant women with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Uganda. Malar J, 11 (1), pp. 293. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Malaria in pregnancy increases the risk of maternal anemia, abortion and low birth weight. Approximately 85.3 million pregnancies occur annually in areas with Plasmodium falciparum transmission. Pregnancy has been reported to alter the pharmacokinetic properties of many anti-malarial drugs. Reduced drug exposure increases the risk of treatment failure. The objective of this study was to evaluate the population pharmacokinetic properties of artemether and its active metabolite dihydroartemisinin in pregnant women with uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria in Uganda. METHODS: Twenty-one women with uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy received the fixed oral combination of 80 mg artemether and 480 mg lumefantrine twice daily for three days. Artemether and dihydroartemisinin plasma concentrations after the last dose administration were quantified using liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass-spectroscopy. A simultaneous drug-metabolite population pharmacokinetic model for artemether and dihydroartemisinin was developed taking into account different disposition, absorption, error and covariate models. A separate modeling approach and a non-compartmental analysis (NCA) were also performed to enable a comparison with literature values and different modeling strategies. RESULTS: The treatment was well tolerated and there were no cases of recurrent malaria. A flexible absorption model with sequential zero-order and transit-compartment absorption followed by a simultaneous one-compartment disposition model for both artemether and dihydroartemisinin provided the best fit to the data. Artemether and dihydroartemisinin exposure was lower than that reported in non-pregnant populations. An approximately four-fold higher apparent volume of distribution for dihydroartemisinin was obtained by non-compartmental analysis and separate modeling compared to that from simultaneous modeling of the drug and metabolite. This highlights a potential pitfall when analyzing drug/metabolite data with traditional approaches. CONCLUSION: The population pharmacokinetic properties of artemether and dihydroartemisinin, in pregnant women with uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria in Uganda, were described satisfactorily by a simultaneous drug-metabolite model without covariates. Concentrations of artemether and its metabolite dihydroartemisinin were relatively low in pregnancy compared to literature data. However, this should be interpreted with caution considered the limited literature available. Further studies in larger series are urgently needed for this vulnerable group.

Gharbi M, Pillai DR, Lau R, Hubert V, Khairnar K, Existe A, Kendjo E, Dahlström S, Guérin PJ, Le Bras J, French National Reference Center for Imported Malaria Study. 2012. Chloroquine-resistant malaria in travelers returning from Haiti after 2010 earthquake. Emerg Infect Dis, 18 (8), pp. 1346-1349. | Show Abstract | Read more

We investigated chloroquine sensitivity to Plasmodium falciparum in travelers returning to France and Canada from Haiti during a 23-year period. Two of 19 isolates obtained after the 2010 earthquake showed mixed pfcrt 76K+T genotype and high 50% inhibitory concentration. Physicians treating malaria acquired in Haiti should be aware of possible chloroquine resistance.

Espié E, Lima A, Atua B, Dhorda M, Flévaud L, Sompwe EM, Palma Urrutia PP, Guerin PJ. 2012. Efficacy of fixed-dose combination artesunate-amodiaquine versus artemether-lumefantrine for uncomplicated childhood Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Democratic Republic of Congo: a randomized non-inferiority trial. Malar J, 11 (1), pp. 174. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: In 2005, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) adopted artesunate and amodiaquine (ASAQ) as first-line anti-malarial treatment. In order to compare the efficacy of the fixed-dose formulation ASAQ versus artemether-lumefantrine (AL), a randomized, non-inferiority open-label trial was conducted in Katanga. METHODS: Children aged six and 59 months with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria were enrolled and randomly allocated into one of the two regimens. The risk of recurrent parasitaemia by day 42, both unadjusted and adjusted by PCR genotyping to distinguish recrudescence from new infection, was analysed. RESULTS: Between April 2008 and March 2009, 301 children were included: 156 with ASAQ and 145 with AL. No early treatment failures were reported. Among the 256 patients followed-up at day 42, 32 patients developed late clinical or parasitological failure (9.9% (13/131) in the ASAQ group and 15.2% (19/125) in the AL group). After PCR correction, cure rates were 98.3% (95%CI, 94.1-99.8) in the ASAQ group and 99.1% (95%CI, 94.9-99.9) in the AL group (difference -0.7%, one sided 95% CI -3.1). Kaplan-Meier PCR-adjusted cure rates were similar. Both treatment regimens were generally well tolerated. CONCLUSION: Both ASAQ and AL are highly effective and currently adequate as the first-line treatment of uncomplicated falciparum malaria in this area of Katanga, DRC. However, in a very large country, such as DRC, and because of possible emergence of resistance from other endemic regions, surveillance of efficacy of artemisinin-based combination treatments, including other evaluations of the resistance of ASAQ, need to be done in other provinces. TRIAL REGISTRATION: The protocol was registered with the clinicaltrials.gov, open clinical trial registry under the identifier number NCT01567423.

Muehlenbachs A, Nabasumba C, McGready R, Turyakira E, Tumwebaze B, Dhorda M, Nyehangane D, Nalusaji A, Nosten F, Guerin PJ, Piola P. 2012. Artemether-lumefantrine to treat malaria in pregnancy is associated with reduced placental haemozoin deposition compared to quinine in a randomized controlled trial. Malar J, 11 (1), pp. 150. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Data on efficacy of artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) to treat Plasmodium falciparum during pregnancy in sub-Saharan Africa is scarce. A recent open label, randomized controlled trial in Mbarara, Uganda demonstrated that artemether-lumefantrine (AL) is not inferior to quinine to treat uncomplicated malaria in pregnancy. Haemozoin can persist in the placenta following clearance of parasites, however there is no data whether ACT can influence the amount of haemozoin or the dynamics of haemozoin clearance. METHODS: Women attending antenatal clinics with weekly screening and positive blood smears by microscopy were eligible to participate in the trial and were followed to delivery. Placental haemozoin deposition and inflammation were assessed by histology. To determine whether AL was associated with increased haemozoin clearance, population haemozoin clearance curves were calculated based on the longitudinal data. RESULTS: Of 152 women enrolled in each arm, there were 97 and 98 placental biopsies obtained in the AL and quinine arms, respectively. AL was associated with decreased rates of moderate to high grade haemozoin deposition (13.3% versus 25.8%), which remained significant after correcting for gravidity, time of infection, re-infection, and parasitaemia. The amount of haemozoin proportionately decreased with the duration of time between treatment and delivery and this decline was greater in the AL arm. Haemozoin was not detected in one third of biopsies and the prevalence of inflammation was low, reflecting the efficacy of antenatal care with early detection and prompt treatment of malaria. CONCLUSIONS: Placental haemozoin deposition was decreased in the AL arm demonstrating a relationship between pharmacological properties of drug to treat antenatal malaria and placental pathology at delivery. Histology may be considered an informative outcome for clinical trials to evaluate malaria control in pregnancy. TRIAL REGISTRATION: REGISTRY: http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00495508.

Page AL, Alberti KP, Mondonge V, Rauzier J, Quilici ML, Guerin PJ. 2012. Evaluation of a rapid test for the diagnosis of cholera in the absence of a gold standard. PLoS One, 7 (5), pp. e37360. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Early detection and confirmation of cholera outbreaks are crucial for rapid implementation of control measures. Because cholera frequently affects regions with limited laboratory resources, rapid diagnostic tests (RDT) designed for field conditions are important to enhance rapid response. Stool culture remains the "gold standard" for cholera diagnosis; however, its lack of sensitivity may lead to underestimation of test specificity. We evaluated the Crystal VC® immunochromatographic test (Span Diagnostics, India) for cholera diagnosis using a modified reference standard that combines culture-dependent and independent assays, or a Bayesian latent class model (LCM) analysis. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The study was conducted during a cholera epidemic in 2008, in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo. Stools collected from 296 patients were used to perform the RDT on site and sent to Institut Pasteur, Paris, for bacterial culture. In comparison with culture as the gold standard, the RDT showed good sensitivity (92.2%; 95% CI: 86.8%-95.9%) but poor specificity when used by a trained laboratory technician (70.6%; 95% CI: 60.7%-79.2%) or by clinicians with no specific test training (60.4%, 95% CI: 50.2%-70.0%). The specificity of the test performed by the laboratory technician increased to 88.6% (95% CI: 78.7-94.9) when PCR was combined with culture results as the reference standard, and to 85.0% (95% CI: 70.4-99.2), when the Bayesian LCM analysis was used for performance evaluation. In both cases, the sensitivity remained high. CONCLUSION: Using an improved reference standard or appropriate statistical methods for diagnostic test evaluations in the absence of a gold standard, we report better performance of the Crystal VC® RDT than previously published. Our results confirm that this test can be used for early outbreak detection or epidemiological surveillance, key components of efficient global cholera control. Our analysis also highlights the importance of improving evaluations of RDT when no reliable gold standard is available.

Acestor N, Cooksey R, Newton PN, Ménard D, Guerin PJ, Nakagawa J, Christophel E, González IJ, Bell D. 2012. Mapping the aetiology of non-malarial febrile illness in Southeast Asia through a systematic review--terra incognita impairing treatment policies. PLoS One, 7 (9), pp. e44269. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: An increasing use of point of care diagnostic tests that exclude malaria, coupled with a declining malaria burden in many endemic countries, is highlighting the lack of ability of many health systems to manage other causes of febrile disease. A lack of knowledge of distribution of these pathogens, and a lack of screening and point-of-care diagnostics to identify them, prevents effective management of these generally treatable contributors to disease burden. While prospective data collection is vital, an untapped body of knowledge already exists in the published health literature. METHODS: Focusing on the Mekong region of Southeast Asia, published data from 1986 to 2011 was screened to for frequency of isolation of pathogens implicated in aetiology of non-malarial febrile illness. Eligibility criteria included English-language peer-reviewed studies recording major pathogens for which specific management is likely to be warranted. Of 1,252 identified papers, 146 met inclusion criteria and were analyzed and data mapped. RESULTS: Data tended to be clustered around specific areas where research institutions operate, and where resources to conduct studies are greater. The most frequently reported pathogen was dengue virus (n = 70), followed by Orientia tsutsugamushi and Rickettsia species (scrub typhus/murine typhus/spotted fever group n = 58), Leptospira spp. (n = 35), Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi and Paratyphi (enteric fever n = 24), Burkholderia pseudomallei (melioidosis n = 14), and Japanese encephalitis virus (n = 18). Wide tracts with very little published data on aetiology of fever are apparent. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: This mapping demonstrates a very heterogeneous distribution of information on the causes of fever in the Mekong countries. Further directed data collection to address gaps in the evidence-base, and expansion to a global database of pathogen distribution, is readily achievable, and would help define wider priorities for research and development to improve syndromic management of fever, prioritize diagnostic development, and guide empirical therapy.

Dhorda M, Piola P, Nyehangane D, Tumwebaze B, Nalusaji A, Nabasumba C, Turyakira E, McGready R, Ashley E, Guerin PJ, Snounou G. 2012. Performance of a histidine-rich protein 2 rapid diagnostic test, Paracheck Pf®, for detection of malaria infections in Ugandan pregnant women. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 86 (1), pp. 93-95. | Show Abstract | Read more

Improved laboratory diagnosis is critical to reduce the burden of malaria in pregnancy. Peripheral blood smears appear less sensitive than Plasmodium falciparum histidine-rich protein 2-based rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) for placental malaria infections in studies conducted at delivery. In this study, 81 women in Uganda in the second or third trimester of pregnancy were followed-up until delivery. At each visit, peripheral blood was tested by blood smear, RDT, and nested species-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Sensitivity and specificity of the tests was calculated with PCR, which detected 22 infections of P. falciparum, as the gold standard. The sensitivity and specificity of blood smears were 36.4% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 18.0-59.2%) and 99.6% (95% CI = 97.7-100%), respectively. The corresponding values for RDT were 31.8% (95% CI = 14.7-54.9%) and 100% (95% CI = 98.3-100%). The RDTs could replace blood smears for diagnosis of malaria in pregnancy by virtue of their relative ease of use. Field-based sensitive tests for malaria in pregnancy are urgently needed.

Newton PN, Green MD, Mildenhall DC, Plançon A, Nettey H, Nyadong L, Hostetler DM, Swamidoss I et al. 2011. Poor quality vital anti-malarials in Africa - an urgent neglected public health priority. Malar J, 10 (1), pp. 352. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Plasmodium falciparum malaria remains a major public health problem. A vital component of malaria control rests on the availability of good quality artemisinin-derivative based combination therapy (ACT) at the correct dose. However, there are increasing reports of poor quality anti-malarials in Africa. METHODS: Seven collections of artemisinin derivative monotherapies, ACT and halofantrine anti-malarials of suspicious quality were collected in 2002/10 in eleven African countries and in Asia en route to Africa. Packaging, chemical composition (high performance liquid chromatography, direct ionization mass spectrometry, X-ray diffractometry, stable isotope analysis) and botanical investigations were performed. RESULTS: Counterfeit artesunate containing chloroquine, counterfeit dihydroartemisinin (DHA) containing paracetamol (acetaminophen), counterfeit DHA-piperaquine containing sildenafil, counterfeit artemether-lumefantrine containing pyrimethamine, counterfeit halofantrine containing artemisinin, and substandard/counterfeit or degraded artesunate and artesunate+amodiaquine in eight countries are described. Pollen analysis was consistent with manufacture of counterfeits in eastern Asia. These data do not allow estimation of the frequency of poor quality anti-malarials in Africa. CONCLUSIONS: Criminals are producing diverse harmful anti-malarial counterfeits with important public health consequences. The presence of artesunate monotherapy, substandard and/or degraded and counterfeit medicines containing sub-therapeutic amounts of unexpected anti-malarials will engender drug resistance. With the threatening spread of artemisinin resistance to Africa, much greater investment is required to ensure the quality of ACTs and removal of artemisinin monotherapies. The International Health Regulations may need to be invoked to counter these serious public health problems.

Newton PN, Amin AA, Bird C, Passmore P, Dukes G, Tomson G, Simons B, Bate R, Guerin PJ, White NJ. 2011. The primacy of public health considerations in defining poor quality medicines. PLoS Med, 8 (12), pp. e1001139. | Read more

Flegg JA, Guerin PJ, White NJ, Stepniewska K. 2011. Standardizing the measurement of parasite clearance in falciparum malaria: the parasite clearance estimator. Malar J, 10 (1), pp. 339. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: A significant reduction in parasite clearance rates following artesunate treatment of falciparum malaria, and increased failure rates following artemisinin combination treatments (ACT), signaled emergent artemisinin resistance in Western Cambodia. Accurate measurement of parasite clearance is therefore essential to assess the spread of artemisinin resistance in Plasmodium falciparum. The slope of the log-parasitaemia versus time relationship is considered to be the most robust measure of anti-malarial effect. However, an initial lag phase of numerical instability often precedes a steady exponential decline in the parasite count after the start of anti-malarial treatment. This lag complicates the clearance estimation, introduces observer subjectivity, and may influence the accuracy and consistency of reported results. METHODS: To address this problem, a new approach to modelling clearance of malaria parasites from parasitaemia-time profiles has been explored and validated. The methodology detects when a lag phase is present, selects the most appropriate model (linear, quadratic or cubic) to fit log-transformed parasite data, and calculates estimates of parasite clearance adjusted for this lag phase. Departing from previous approaches, parasite counts below the level of detection are accounted for and not excluded from the calculation. RESULTS: Data from large clinical studies with frequent parasite counts were examined. The effect of a lag phase on parasite clearance rate estimates is discussed, using individual patient data examples. As part of the World Wide Antimalarial Resistance Network's (WWARN) efforts to make innovative approaches available to the malaria community, an automated informatics tool: the parasite clearance estimator has been developed. CONCLUSIONS: The parasite clearance estimator provides a consistent, reliable and accurate method to estimate the lag phase and malaria parasite clearance rate. It could be used to detect early signs of emerging resistance to artemisinin derivatives and other compounds which affect ring-stage clearance.

Gharbi M, Lau R, Hubert V, Thellier M, Pradines B, Kendjo E, Guerin PJ, le Bras J, Pillai DR. 2011. Chloroquine resistance in Haiti: lessons learned from imported cases TROPICAL MEDICINE & INTERNATIONAL HEALTH, 16 pp. 130-130.

Dondorp AM, Fairhurst RM, Slutsker L, Macarthur JR, Breman JG, Guerin PJ, Wellems TE, Ringwald P, Newman RD, Plowe CV. 2011. The threat of artemisinin-resistant malaria. N Engl J Med, 365 (12), pp. 1073-1075. | Read more

Page AL, Alberti KP, Guénolé A, Mondongue V, Lonlas Mayele S, Guerin PJ, Quilici ML. 2011. Use of filter paper as a transport medium for laboratory diagnosis of cholera under field conditions. J Clin Microbiol, 49 (8), pp. 3021-3023. | Show Abstract | Read more

Confirmation of a cholera epidemic is based on bacteriological identification of the agent and requires the sending of samples to a culture laboratory, often in countries with limited resources. Comparison of the use of filter paper with the use of Cary-Blair reference medium for stool transport showed that this simple transport medium is appropriate for the recovery of Vibrio cholerae.

Bårnes GK, Naess LM, Rosenqvist E, Guerin PJ, Caugant DA, Fractional Doses Vaccine Study Group. 2011. Avidity of serogroup A meningococcal IgG antibodies after immunization with different doses of a tetravalent A/C/Y/W135 polysaccharide vaccine. Scand J Immunol, 74 (1), pp. 87-94. | Show Abstract | Read more

In the absence of an affordable conjugate meningococcal vaccine, mass vaccination campaigns with polysaccharide vaccines are the means to control meningitis epidemics in sub-Saharan Africa. Facing global vaccine shortage, the use of reduced doses, which have been shown to be protective by serum bactericidal activity, can save many lives. In this study, we investigated the antibody responses and avidity of IgG antibodies evoked against the serogroup A capsule of Neisseria meningitidis by different doses of an A/C/Y/W135 polysaccharide vaccine. Volunteers in Uganda were vaccinated with 1/10, 1/5 or a full dose (50 μg) and revaccinated with a full dose after 1 year. Specific IgG geometric mean concentrations and geometric mean avidity indices (GMAI) were determined by a modified enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) using thiocyanate as a chaotropic agent. After vaccination with 1/10 or 1/5 doses, the GMAI increased from 1 month to 1 year. One year following the initial dose, the GMAI levels were higher in the arm receiving reduced doses than for the arm receiving a full dose. Following the second full dose, avidity indices equalized at approximately the same level in the three arms. Although there are practical challenges to the use of reduced doses in the field, our findings suggest that reduced doses of polysaccharide vaccine are able to elicit antibodies of as good avidity against serogroup A polysaccharide as a full dose.

Bonnet M, Gagnidze L, Guerin PJ, Bonte L, Ramsay A, Githui W, Varaine F. 2011. Evaluation of combined LED-fluorescence microscopy and bleach sedimentation for diagnosis of tuberculosis at peripheral health service level. PLoS One, 6 (5), pp. e20175. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Sputum microscopy is the only diagnostic for tuberculosis (TB) available at peripheral levels of health service in resource-poor countries. Its sensitivity is reduced in high HIV-prevalence settings. Sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) specimen sedimentation prior microscopy and light-emitting diode (LED)-fluorescence microscopy (FM) can individually improve performance of microscopy. This study aimed to evaluate the performance of combined LED-FM and NaOCl sputum sedimentation for TB detection at peripheral level of health services. METHODS: A prospective study was conducted in an urban health clinic in Nairobi, Kenya. Three sputum specimens were collected over 2 days from consecutive TB suspects. Smears were prepared and stained with auramine O and Ziehl-Neelsen (ZN) methods. Bleach (3.5%) was added to the remaining specimen before overnight sedimentation at room temperature. Auramine O staining was performed on smears of sediment. A 4(th) specimen was collected for TB culture. Auramine smears were read under the same microscope as used for ZN smears, but equipped with the LED FluoLED™ fluorescence illuminator. RESULTS: 497 patients were included, and 1394 specimens collected. The yield of positive specimen was significantly increased after NaOCl sedimentation (24.9%) compared to direct LED-FM (20.6%) and direct ZN (20.3%). In detecting smear-positive patients, sensitivity was 78.5% for LED-FM after NaOCl sedimentation compared to 73.2% and 72.0% for direct LED-FM (P = 0.06) and direct ZN (P = 0.06), respectively. Specificity was 87.8% for LED-FM after NaOCl sedimentation compared to 96.7% and 95.9% for direct LED-FM (P<0.01) and direct ZN (P<0.01), respectively. Inter-reading agreement (kappa = 0.7) and technicians' acceptability were good. CONCLUSION: NaOCl sedimentation did not improve the performance of LED-FM in the diagnosis of pulmonary TB at peripheral health service level.

Bonnet M, Gagnidze L, Githui W, Guérin PJ, Bonte L, Varaine F, Ramsay A. 2011. Performance of LED-based fluorescence microscopy to diagnose tuberculosis in a peripheral health centre in Nairobi. PLoS One, 6 (2), pp. e17214. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Sputum microscopy is the only tuberculosis (TB) diagnostic available at peripheral levels of care in resource limited countries. Its sensitivity is low, particularly in high HIV prevalence settings. Fluorescence microscopy (FM) can improve performance of microscopy and with the new light emitting diode (LED) technologies could be appropriate for peripheral settings. The study aimed to compare the performance of LED-FM versus Ziehl-Neelsen (ZN) microscopy and to assess feasibility of LED-FM at a low level of care in a high HIV prevalence country. METHODS: A prospective study was conducted in an urban health clinic in Nairobi, Kenya. Three sputum specimens were collected over 2 days from suspected TB patients. Each sample was processed with Auramine O and ZN methods and a 4(th) specimen was collected for TB culture reference standard. Auramine smears were read using the same microscope, equipped with the FluoLED™ fluorescence illuminator. Inter-reader agreement, reading time and technicians' acceptability assessed feasibility. RESULTS: 497 patients were included and 1394 specimens were collected. The detection yields of LED-FM and ZN microscopy were 20.3% and 20.6% (p = 0.64), respectively. Sensitivity was 73.2% for LED-FM and 72% for ZN microscopy, p = 0.32. It was 96.7% and 95.9% for specificity, p = 0.53. Inter-reader agreement was high (kappa = 0.9). Mean reading time was three times faster than ZN microscopy with very good acceptance by technicians. CONCLUSIONS: Although it did not increase sensitivity, the faster reading time combined with very good acceptance and ease of use supports the introduction of LED-FM at the peripheral laboratory level of high TB and HIV burden countries.

Dhorda M, Nyehangane D, Rénia L, Piola P, Guerin PJ, Snounou G. 2011. Transmission of Plasmodium vivax in south-western Uganda: report of three cases in pregnant women. PLoS One, 6 (5), pp. e19801. | Show Abstract | Read more

Plasmodium vivax is considered to be rare in the predominantly Duffy negative populations of Sub-Saharan Africa, as this red blood cell surface antigen is essential for invasion by the parasite. However, despite only very few reports of molecularly confirmed P. vivax from tropical Africa, serological evidence indicated that 13% of the persons sampled in Congo had been exposed to P. vivax. We identified P. vivax by microscopy in 8 smears from Ugandan pregnant women who had been enrolled in a longitudinal study of malaria in pregnancy. A nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) protocol was used to detect and identify the Plasmodium parasites present. PCR analysis confirmed the presence of P. vivax for three of the women and analysis of all available samples from these women revealed clinically silent chronic low-grade vivax infections for two of them. The parasites in one woman carried pyrimethamine resistance-associated double non-synonymous mutations in the P. vivax dihydrofolate reductase gene. The three women found infected with P. vivax were Duffy positive as were nine of 68 women randomly selected from the cohort. The data presented from these three case reports is consistent with stable transmission of malaria in a predominantly Duffy negative African population. Given the substantial morbidity associated with vivax infection in non-African endemic areas, it will be important to investigate whether the distribution and prevalence of P. vivax have been underestimated in Sub-Saharan Africa. This is particularly important in the context of the drive to eliminate malaria and its morbidity.

Lourens C, Watkins WM, Barnes KI, Sibley CH, Guerin PJ, White NJ, Lindegardh N. 2010. Implementation of a reference standard and proficiency testing programme by the World Wide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN). Malar J, 9 (1), pp. 375. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The Worldwide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN) is a global collaboration to support the objective that anyone affected by malaria receives effective and safe drug treatment. The Pharmacology module aims to inform optimal anti-malarial drug selection. There is an urgent need to define the drug exposure - effect relationship for most anti-malarial drugs. Few anti-malarials have had their therapeutic blood concentration levels defined. One of the main challenges in assessing safety and efficacy data in relation to drug concentrations is the comparability of data generated from different laboratories. To explain differences in anti-malarial pharmacokinetics in studies with different measurement laboratories it is necessary to confirm the accuracy of the assay methods. This requires the establishment of an external quality assurance process to assure results that can be compared. This paper describes this process. METHODS: The pharmacology module of WWARN has established a quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) programme consisting of two separate components:1. A proficiency testing programme where blank human plasma spiked with certified reference material (CRM) in different concentrations is sent out to participating bioanalytical laboratories.2. A certified reference standard programme where accurately weighed amounts of certified anti-malarial reference standards, metabolites, and internal standards are sent to participating bioanalytical and in vitro laboratories. CONCLUSION: The proficiency testing programme is designed as a cooperative effort to help participating laboratories assess their ability to carry out drug analysis, resolve any potential problem areas and to improve their results - and, in so doing, to improve the quality of anti-malarial pharmacokinetic data published and shared with WWARN.By utilizing the same source of standards for all laboratories, it is possible to minimize bias arising from poor quality reference standards. By providing anti-malarial drug standards from a central point, it is possible to lower the cost of these standards.

Isanaka S, Roederer T, Djibo A, Luquero FJ, Nombela N, Guerin PJ, Grais RF. 2010. Reducing wasting in young children with preventive supplementation: a cohort study in Niger. Pediatrics, 126 (2), pp. e442-e450. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVE: To compare the incidence of wasting, stunting, and mortality among children aged 6 to 36 months who are receiving preventive supplementation with either ready-to-use supplementary foods (RUSFs) or ready-to-use therapeutic foods (RUTFs). SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Children aged 6 to 36 months in 12 villages of Maradi, Niger, (n = 1645) received a monthly distribution of RUSFs (247 kcal [3 spoons] per day) for 6 months or RUTFs (500-kcal sachet per day) for 4 months. We compared the incidence of wasting, stunting, and mortality among children who received preventive supplementation with RUSFs versus RUTFs. RESULTS: The effectiveness of RUSF supplementation depended on receipt of a previous preventive intervention. In villages in which a preventive supplementation program was previously implemented, the RUSF strategy was associated with a 46% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 6%-69%) and 59% (95% CI: 17%-80%) reduction in wasting and severe wasting, respectively. In contrast, in villages in which the previous intervention was not implemented, we found no difference in the incidence of wasting or severe wasting according to type of supplementation. Compared with the RUTF strategy, the RUSF strategy was associated with a 19% (95% CI: 0%-34%) reduction in stunting overall. CONCLUSION: We found that the relative performance of a 6-month RUSF supplementation strategy versus a 4-month RUTF strategy varied with receipt of a previous nutritional intervention. Contextual factors will continue to be important in determining the dose and duration of supplementation that will be most effective, acceptable, and sustainable for a given setting.

Bonnet M, Tajahmady A, Hepple P, Ramsay A, Githui W, Gagdnidze L, Guérin PJ, Varaine F. 2010. Added value of bleach sedimentation microscopy for diagnosis of tuberculosis: a cost-effectiveness study. Int J Tuberc Lung Dis, 14 (5), pp. 571-577. | Show Abstract

SETTING: Bleach sedimentation is a method used to increase the diagnostic yield of sputum microscopy for countries with a high prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and limited resources. OBJECTIVES: To compare the relative cost-effectiveness of different microscopy approaches in diagnosing tuberculosis (TB) in Kenya. METHODS: An analytical decision tree model including cost and effectiveness measures of 10 combinations of direct (D) and overnight bleach (B) sedimentation microscopy was constructed. Data were drawn from the evaluation of the bleach sedimentation method on two specimens (first on the spot [1] and second morning [2]) from 644 TB suspects in a peripheral health clinic. Incremental cost per smear-positive detected case was measured. Costs included human resources and materials using a micro-costing evaluation. RESULTS: All bleach-based microscopy approaches detected significantly more cases (between 23.3% for B1 and 25.9% for B1+B2) than the conventional D1+D2 approach (21.0%). Cost per tested case ranged between respectively euro 2.7 and euro 4.5 for B1 and B1+D2+B2. B1 and B1+B2 were the most cost-effective approaches. D1+B2 and D1+B1 were good alternatives to avoid using approaches exclusively based on bleach sedimentation microscopy. CONCLUSIONS: Among several effective microscopy approaches used, including sodium hypochlorite sedimentation, only some resulted in a limited increase in the laboratory workload and would be most suitable for programmatic implementation.

Sibley CH, Guerin PJ, Ringwald P. 2010. Monitoring antimalarial resistance: launching a cooperative effort. Trends Parasitol, 26 (5), pp. 221-224. | Show Abstract | Read more

Current information on efficacy of antimalarials is crucial to provide early warning of resistance. A collaborative effort between the Global Malaria Program of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN) has recently been launched. The effort is planned as a collaboration with the scientific malaria community to create a global, comprehensive, and inclusive network that will provide quality-assured information on antimalarial drug resistance.

Nackers F, Broillet F, Oumarou D, Djibo A, Gaboulaud V, Guerin PJ, Rusch B, Grais RF, Captier V. 2010. Effectiveness of ready-to-use therapeutic food compared to a corn/soy-blend-based pre-mix for the treatment of childhood moderate acute malnutrition in Niger. J Trop Pediatr, 56 (6), pp. 407-413. | Show Abstract | Read more

Standard nutritional treatment of moderate acute malnutrition (MAM) relies on fortified blended flours though their importance to treat this condition is a matter of discussion. With the newly introduced World Health Organization growth standards, more children at an early stage of malnutrition will be treated following the dietary protocols as for severe acute malnutrition, including ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF). We compared the effectiveness of RUTF and a corn/soy-blend (CSB)-based pre-mix for the treatment of MAM in the supplementary feeding programmes (SFPs) supported by Médecins Sans Frontières, located in the Zinder region (south of Niger). Children measuring 65 to <110 cm, newly admitted with MAM [weight-for-height (WHM%) between 70% and <80% of the NCHS median] were randomly allocated to receive either RUTF (Plumpy'Nut®, 1000 kcal day(-1)) or a CSB pre-mix (1231 kcal day(-1)). Other interventions were similar in both groups (e.g. weekly family ration and ration at discharge). Children were followed weekly up to recovery (WHM% ≥ 85% for 2 consecutive weeks). In total, 215 children were recruited in the RUTF group and 236 children in the CSB pre-mix group with an overall recovery rate of 79.1 and 64.4%, respectively (p < 0.001). There was no evidence for a difference between death, defaulter and non-responder rates. More transfers to the inpatient Therapeutic Feeding Centre (I-TFC) were observed in the CSB pre-mix group (19.1%) compared to the RUTF group (9.3%) (p = 0.003). The average weight gain up to discharge was 1.08 g kg(-1) day(-1) higher in the RUTF group [95% confidence interval: 0.46-1.70] and the length of stay was 2 weeks shorter in the RUTF group (p < 0.001). For the treatment of childhood MAM in Niger, RUTF resulted in a higher weight gain, a higher recovery rate, a shorter length of stay and a lower transfer rate to the I-TFC compared to a CSB pre-mix. This might have important implications on the efficacy and the quality of SFPs.

Piola P, Nabasumba C, Turyakira E, Dhorda M, Lindegardh N, Nyehangane D, Snounou G, Ashley EA, McGready R, Nosten F, Guerin PJ. 2010. Efficacy and safety of artemether-lumefantrine compared with quinine in pregnant women with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria: an open-label, randomised, non-inferiority trial. Lancet Infect Dis, 10 (11), pp. 762-769. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Malaria in pregnancy is associated with maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality. In 2006, WHO recommended use of artemisinin-based combination treatments during the second or third trimesters, but data on efficacy and safety in Africa were scarce. We aimed to assess whether artemether-lumefantrine was at least as efficacious as oral quinine for the treatment of uncomplicated falciparum malaria during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy in Mbarara, Uganda. METHODS: We did an open-label, randomised, non-inferiority trial between October, 2006, and May, 2009, at the antenatal clinics of the Mbarara University of Science and Technology Hospital in Uganda. Pregnant women were randomly assigned (1:1) by computer generated sequence to receive either quinine hydrochloride or artemether-lumefantrine, and were followed up weekly until delivery. Our primary endpoint was cure rate at day 42, confirmed by PCR. The non-inferiority margin was a difference in cure rate of 5%. Analysis of efficacy was for all randomised patients without study deviations that could have affected the efficacy outcome. This study was registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00495508. FINDINGS: 304 women were randomly assigned, 152 to each treatment group. By day 42, 16 patients were lost to follow-up and 25 were excluded from the analysis. At day 42, 137 (99.3%) of 138 patients taking artemether-lumefantrine and 122 (97.6%) of 125 taking quinine were cured-difference 1.7% (lower limit of 95% CI -0.9). There were 290 adverse events in the quinine group and 141 in the artemether-lumefantrine group. INTERPRETATION: Artemisinin derivatives are not inferior to oral quinine for the treatment of uncomplicated malaria in pregnancy and might be preferable on the basis of safety and efficacy. FUNDING: Médecins Sans Frontières and the European Commission.

Rose AM, Mueller JE, Gerstl S, Njanpop-Lafourcade BM, Page AL, Nicolas P, Traoré RO, Caugant DA, Guerin PJ. 2010. Meningitis dipstick rapid test: evaluating diagnostic performance during an urban Neisseria meningitidis serogroup A outbreak, Burkina Faso, 2007. PLoS One, 5 (6), pp. e11086. | Show Abstract | Read more

Meningococcal meningitis outbreaks occur every year during the dry season in the "meningitis belt" of sub-Saharan Africa. Identification of the causative strain is crucial before launching mass vaccination campaigns, to assure use of the correct vaccine. Rapid agglutination (latex) tests are most commonly available in district-level laboratories at the beginning of the epidemic season; limitations include a short shelf-life and the need for refrigeration and good technical skills. Recently, a new dipstick rapid diagnostic test (RDT) was developed to identify and differentiate disease caused by meningococcal serogroups A, W135, C and Y. We evaluated the diagnostic performance of this dipstick RDT during an urban outbreak of meningitis caused by N. meningitidis serogroup A in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso; first against an in-country reference standard of culture and/or multiplex PCR; and second against culture and/or a highly sensitive nested PCR technique performed in Oslo, Norway. We included 267 patients with suspected acute bacterial meningitis. Using the in-country reference standard, 50 samples (19%) were positive. Dipstick RDT sensitivity (N = 265) was 70% (95%CI 55-82) and specificity 97% (95%CI 93-99). Using culture and/or nested PCR, 126/259 (49%) samples were positive; dipstick RDT sensitivity (N = 257) was 32% (95%CI 24-41), and specificity was 99% (95%CI 95-100). We found dipstick RDT sensitivity lower than values reported from (i) assessments under ideal laboratory conditions (>90%), and (ii) a prior field evaluation in Niger [89% (95%CI 80-95)]. Specificity, however, was similar to (i), and higher than (ii) [62% (95%CI 48-75)]. At this stage in development, therefore, other tests (e.g., latex) might be preferred for use in peripheral health centres. We highlight the value of field evaluations for new diagnostic tests, and note relatively low sensitivity of a reference standard using multiplex vs. nested PCR. Although the former is the current standard for bacterial meningitis surveillance in the meningitis belt, nested PCR performed in a certified laboratory should be used as an absolute reference when evaluating new diagnostic tests.

Minetti A, Camelique O, Hsa Thaw K, Thi S, Swaddiwudhipong W, Hewison C, Pinoges L, Bonnet M, Guerin PJ. 2010. Tuberculosis treatment in a refugee and migrant population: 20 years of experience on the Thai-Burmese border. Int J Tuberc Lung Dis, 14 (12), pp. 1589-1595. | Show Abstract

SETTING: Although tuberculosis (TB) is a curable disease, it remains a major global health problem and an important cause of morbidity and mortality among vulnerable populations, including refugees and migrants. OBJECTIVE: To describe results and experiences over 20 years at a TB programme in refugee camps on the Thai-Burmese border in Tak Province, Thailand, and to identify risk factors associated with adverse outcomes (e.g., default, failure, death). DESIGN: Retrospective review of routine records of 2425 patients admitted for TB treatment in the Mae La TB programme between May 1987 and December 2005. RESULTS: TB cases notified among refugees decreased over 20 years. Among patients treated with a first-, second- or third-line regimen, 77.5% had a successful outcome, 13.5% defaulted, 7.6% died and 1.3% failed treatment. Multivariate analysis for new cases showed higher likelihood of adverse outcomes for patients who were Burmese migrants or Thai villagers, male, aged >15 years or with smear-negative pulmonary TB. CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that treatment outcomes depend on the programme's capacity to respond to specific patients' constraints. High-risk groups, such as migrant populations, need a patient-centred approach, and specific, innovative strategies have to be developed based on the needs of the most vulnerable and marginalised populations.

Guerin PJ, Bates SJ, Sibley CH. 2009. Global resistance surveillance: ensuring antimalarial efficacy in the future. Curr Opin Infect Dis, 22 (6), pp. 593-600. | Show Abstract | Read more

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Effective surveillance for and rapid identification of evolved antimalarial resistance ensures that all patients are treated with efficacious drugs. This review summarizes the current status and the challenges to effective surveillance, and suggests approaches for improvement. RECENT FINDINGS: The replacement of older drugs by artemisinin combination therapies (ACTs) as the recommended treatment for malaria has dramatically improved treatment outcomes wherever ACTs have been deployed effectively. Moreover, there has been considerable technical and organizational progress, and support for the health professionals needed to carry out this work is also increasing. As a result, the prospects for more effective surveillance of antimalarial resistance, and other vital health information are improving. However, resistance to the artemisinin component of ACTs is already suspected in Cambodia, and the current methods for tracking this resistance are not yet in place. Identification of efficient markers of ACT efficacy is a crucial challenge. SUMMARY: Technical advances alone are not sufficient. Detection of decreased drug efficacy is only the first step to producing accessible and useful information for decision makers. The translation of increased access to data on health outcomes into usable evidence for rational policy and planning requires a global coordination and communication effort.

Sanchez-Padilla E, Grais RF, Guerin PJ, Steele AD, Burny ME, Luquero FJ. 2009. Burden of disease and circulating serotypes of rotavirus infection in sub-Saharan Africa: systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet Infect Dis, 9 (9), pp. 567-576. | Show Abstract | Read more

Two new rotavirus vaccines have recently been licensed in many countries. However, their efficacy has only been shown against certain serotypes commonly circulating in Europe, North America, and Latin America, but thought to be globally important. To assess the potential impact of these vaccines in sub-Saharan Africa, where rotavirus mortality is high, knowledge of prevalent types is essential because an effective rotavirus vaccine is needed to protect against prevailing serotypes in the community. We did two systematic reviews and two meta-analyses of the most recent published data on the burden of rotavirus disease in children aged under 5 years and rotavirus serotypes circulating in countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Eligible studies were selected from PubMed/Medline, Cochrane Library, EmBase, LILACS, Academic Search Premier, Biological Abstracts, ISI Web of Science, and the African Index Medicus. Depending on the heterogeneity, DerSimonian-Laird random-effects or fixed-effects models were used for meta-analyses. Geographical variability in rotavirus burden within countries in sub-Saharan Africa is substantial, and most countries lack information on rotavirus epidemiology. We estimated that annual mortality for this region was 243.3 (95% CI 187.6-301.7) deaths per 100,000 under 5 years (ie, a total of 300,000 children die of rotavirus infection in this region each year). The most common G type detected was G1 (34.9%), followed by G2 (9.1%), and G3 (8.6%). The most common P types detected were P[8] (35.5%) and P[6] (27.5%). Accurate information should be collected from surveillance based on standardised methods in these countries to obtain comparable data on the burden of disease and the circulating strains to assess the potential impact of vaccine introduction.

Bonnet M, Gagnidze L, Varaine F, Ramsay A, Githui W, Guerin PJ. 2009. Evaluation of FASTPlaqueTB to diagnose smear-negative tuberculosis in a peripheral clinic in Kenya. Int J Tuberc Lung Dis, 13 (9), pp. 1112-1118. | Show Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the performance and feasibility of FASTPlaqueTB in smear-negative tuberculosis (TB) suspects in a peripheral clinic after laboratory upgrading. DESIGN: Patients with cough > or=2 weeks, two sputum smear-negative results, no response to 1 week of amoxicillin and abnormal chest X-ray were defined as smear-negative suspects. One sputum sample was collected, decontaminated and divided into two: half was tested with FASTPlaqueTB in the clinic laboratory and the other half was cultured on Löwenstein-Jensen medium in the Kenyan Medical Research Institute. Test sensitivity and specificity were evaluated in all patients and in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infected patients. Feasibility was assessed by the contamination rate and the resources required to upgrade the laboratory. RESULTS: Of 208 patients included in the study, 56.2% were HIV-infected. Of 203 FASTPlaqueTB tests, 95 (46.8%) were contaminated, which interfered with result interpretation and led to the interruption of the study. Sensitivity and specificity were respectively 31.2% (95%CI 12.1-58.5) and 94.9% (95%CI 86.8-98.4) in all patients and 33.3% (95%CI 9.9-65.1) and 93.9% (95%CI 83.1-98.7) in HIV-infected patients. Upgrading the laboratory cost euro 20,000. CONCLUSION: FASTPlaqueTB did not perform satisfactorily in this setting. If contamination can be reduced, in addition to laboratory upgrading, its introduction in peripheral clinics would require further assessment in smear-negative and HIV co-infected patients and test adaptation for friendlier use.

Micol R, Buchy P, Guerrier G, Duong V, Ferradini L, Dousset JP, Guerin PJ, Balkan S et al. 2009. Prevalence, risk factors, and impact on outcome of cytomegalovirus replication in serum of Cambodian HIV-infected patients (2004-2007). J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr, 51 (4), pp. 486-491. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: In developing countries, the study of cytomegalovirus (CMV) coinfection in HIV-infected patients remains neglected. Quantitative CMV polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is the gold standard diagnostic tool for analyzing serum CMV replication and for predicting CMV disease. We estimated the prevalence of replicating CMV in sera of newly diagnosed HIV-infected Cambodian patients and examined its impact on mortality. METHODS: This cohort study was based on 2 highly active antiretroviral therapy treatment programs in Cambodia between 2004 and 2007. Quantitative CMV PCR was performed on baseline serum samples of 377 HIV-infected patients. RESULTS: The prevalence of serum CMV DNA was 55.2% (150 of 272) in patients with CD4 count <100/mm. In multivariate analysis, hemoglobin <9 g/dL, CD4 count <100/mm, and Karnofsky index <50 were independently associated with positive serum CMV DNA at baseline. During a 3-year follow-up period, CMV viral load >or=3.1 log10 copies per milliliter was significantly associated with death independently of CD4 count, other opportunistic infections, and highly active antiretroviral therapy. CONCLUSIONS: As in industrialized countries, serum CMV replication is highly prevalent among HIV-infected Cambodian patients and is associated with increased mortality. This underscores the importance of diagnostic CMV infection by PCR in sera of HIV-infected patients with CD4 count <100/mm and treating this opportunistic infection to reduce its associated mortality.

Mérens A, Guérin PJ, Guthmann JP, Nicand E. 2009. Outbreak of hepatitis E virus infection in Darfur, Sudan: effectiveness of real-time reverse transcription-PCR analysis of dried blood spots. J Clin Microbiol, 47 (6), pp. 1931-1933. | Show Abstract | Read more

Biological samples collected in refugee camps during an outbreak of hepatitis E were used to compare the accuracy of hepatitis E virus RNA amplification by real-time reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) for sera and dried blood spots (concordance of 90.6%). Biological profiles (RT-PCR and serology) of asymptomatic individuals were also analyzed.

Ramsay A, Bonnet M, Gagnidze L, Githui W, Varaine F, Guérin PJ. 2009. Sputum, sex and scanty smears: new case definition may reduce sex disparities in smear-positive tuberculosis. Int J Tuberc Lung Dis, 13 (5), pp. 613-619. | Show Abstract

SETTING: Urban clinic, Nairobi. OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the impact of specimen quality and different smear-positive tuberculosis (TB) case (SPC) definitions on SPC detection by sex. DESIGN: Prospective study among TB suspects. RESULTS: A total of 695 patients were recruited: 644 produced > or =1 specimen for microscopy. The male/female sex ratio was 0.8. There were no significant differences in numbers of men and women submitting three specimens (274/314 vs. 339/380, P = 0.43). Significantly more men than women produced a set of three 'good' quality specimens (175/274 vs. 182/339, P = 0.01). Lowering thresholds for definitions to include scanty smears resulted in increases in SPC detection in both sexes; the increase was significantly higher for women. The revised World Health Organization (WHO) case definition was associated with the highest detection rates in women. When analysis was restricted only to patients submitting 'good' quality specimen sets, the difference in detection between sexes was on the threshold for significance (P = 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Higher SPC notification rates in men are commonly reported by TB control programmes. The revised WHO SPC definition may reduce sex disparities in notification. This should be considered when evaluating other interventions aimed at reducing these. Further study is required on the effects of the human immuno-deficiency virus and instructed specimen collection on sex-specific impact of new SPC definition.

Kernéis S, Guerin PJ, von Seidlein L, Legros D, Grais RF. 2009. A look back at an ongoing problem: Shigella dysenteriae type 1 epidemics in refugee settings in Central Africa (1993-1995) PLoS ONE, 4 (2), | Show Abstract | Read more

Background: Shigella dysenteriae type 1 (Sd1) is a cause of major dysentery outbreaks, particularly among children and displaced populations in tropical countries. Although outbreaks continue, the characteristics of such outbreaks have rarely been documented. Here, we describe the Sd1 outbreaks occurring between 1993 and 1995 in 11 refugee settlements in Rwanda, Tanzania and Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). We also explored the links between the different types of the camps and the magnitude of the outbreaks. Methodology/Principal Findings: Number of cases of bloody diarrhea and deaths were collected on a weekly basis in 11 refugee camps, and analyzed retrospectively. Between November 1993 and February 1995, 181,921 cases of bloody diarrhea were reported. Attack rates ranged from 6.3% to 39.1% and case fatality ratios (CFRs) from 1.5% to 9.0% (available for 5 camps). The CFRs were higher in children under age 5. In Tanzania where the response was rapidly deployed, the mean attack rate was lower than in camps in the region of Goma without an immediate response (13.3% versus 32.1% respectively). Conclusions/Significance: This description, and the areas where data is missing, highlight both the importance of collecting data in future epidemics, difficulties in documenting outbreaks occurring in complex emergencies and most importantly, the need to assure that minimal requirements are met. © 2009 Kernéis et al.

Micol R, Buchy P, Galimand J, Veasna D, Ferradini L, Balkan S, Guerin PJ, Martin PR et al. 2009. No association between human herpesvirus 6 reactivation and cryptococcosis in human immunodeficiency virus-infected patients. J Med Microbiol, 58 (Pt 2), pp. 276-277. | Read more

Isanaka S, Nombela N, Djibo A, Poupard M, Van Beckhoven D, Gaboulaud V, Guerin PJ, Grais RF. 2009. Effect of preventive supplementation with ready-to-use therapeutic food on the nutritional status, mortality, and morbidity of children aged 6 to 60 months in Niger: a cluster randomized trial. JAMA, 301 (3), pp. 277-285. | Show Abstract | Read more

CONTEXT: Ready-to-use therapeutic foods (RUTFs) are an important component of effective outpatient treatment of severe wasting. However, their effectiveness in the population-based prevention of moderate and severe wasting has not been evaluated. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effect of a 3-month distribution of RUTF on the nutritional status, mortality, and morbidity of children aged 6 to 60 months in Niger. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: A cluster randomized trial of 12 villages in Maradi, Niger. Six villages were randomized to intervention and 6 to no intervention. All children in the study villages aged 6 to 60 months were eligible for recruitment. INTERVENTION: Children with weight-for-height 80% or more of the National Center for Health Statistics reference median in the 6 intervention villages received a monthly distribution of 1 packet per day of RUTF (92 g [500 kcal/d]) from August to October 2006. Children in the 6 nonintervention villages received no preventive supplementation. Active surveillance for conditions requiring medical or nutritional treatment was conducted monthly in all 12 study villages from August 2006 to March 2007. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Changes in weight-for-height z score (WHZ) according to the World Health Organization Child Growth Standards and incidence of wasting (WHZ <-2) over 8 months of follow-up. RESULTS: The number of children with height and weight measurements in August, October, December, and February was 3166, 3110, 2936, and 3026, respectively. The WHZ difference between the intervention and nonintervention groups was -0.10 z (95% confidence interval [CI], -0.23 to 0.03) at baseline and 0.12 z (95% CI, 0.02 to 0.21) after 8 months of follow-up. The adjusted effect of the intervention on WHZ from baseline to the end of follow-up was thus 0.22 z (95% CI, 0.13 to 0.30). The absolute rate of wasting and severe wasting, respectively, was 0.17 events per child-year (140 events/841 child-years) and 0.03 events per child-year (29 events/943 child-years) in the intervention villages, compared with 0.26 events per child-year (233 events/895 child-years) and 0.07 events per child-year (71 events/1029 child-years) in the nonintervention villages. The intervention thus resulted in a 36% (95% CI, 17% to 50%; P < .001) reduction in the incidence of wasting and a 58% (95% CI, 43% to 68%; P < .001) reduction in the incidence of severe wasting. There was no reduction in mortality, with a mortality rate of 0.007 deaths per child-year (7 deaths/986 child-years) in the intervention villages and 0.016 deaths per child-year (18 deaths/1099 child-years) in the nonintervention villages (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.51; 95% CI, 0.25 to 1.05). CONCLUSION: Short-term supplementation of nonmalnourished children with RUTF reduced the decline in WHZ and the incidence of wasting and severe wasting over 8 months. TRIAL REGISTRATION: clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00682708.

Kernéis S, Guerin PJ, von Seidlein L, Legros D, Grais RF. 2009. A look back at an ongoing problem: Shigella dysenteriae type 1 epidemics in refugee settings in Central Africa (1993-1995). PLoS One, 4 (2), pp. e4494. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Shigella dysenteriae type 1 (Sd1) is a cause of major dysentery outbreaks, particularly among children and displaced populations in tropical countries. Although outbreaks continue, the characteristics of such outbreaks have rarely been documented. Here, we describe the Sd1 outbreaks occurring between 1993 and 1995 in 11 refugee settlements in Rwanda, Tanzania and Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). We also explored the links between the different types of the camps and the magnitude of the outbreaks. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Number of cases of bloody diarrhea and deaths were collected on a weekly basis in 11 refugee camps, and analyzed retrospectively. Between November 1993 and February 1995, 181,921 cases of bloody diarrhea were reported. Attack rates ranged from 6.3% to 39.1% and case fatality ratios (CFRs) from 1.5% to 9.0% (available for 5 camps). The CFRs were higher in children under age 5. In Tanzania where the response was rapidly deployed, the mean attack rate was lower than in camps in the region of Goma without an immediate response (13.3% versus 32.1% respectively). CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: This description, and the areas where data is missing, highlight both the importance of collecting data in future epidemics, difficulties in documenting outbreaks occurring in complex emergencies and most importantly, the need to assure that minimal requirements are met.

Ashley EA, Touabi M, Ahrer M, Hutagalung R, Htun K, Luchavez J, Dureza C, Proux S et al. 2009. Evaluation of three parasite lactate dehydrogenase-based rapid diagnostic tests for the diagnosis of falciparum and vivax malaria. Malar J, 8 (1), pp. 241. | Show Abstract | Read more

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.

Rose AM, Gerstl S, Mahamane AE, Sidikou F, Djibo S, Bonte L, Caugant DA, Guerin PJ, Chanteau S. 2009. Field evaluation of two rapid diagnostic tests for Neisseria meningitidis serogroup A during the 2006 outbreak in Niger. PLoS One, 4 (10), pp. e7326. | Show Abstract | Read more

The Pastorex((R)) (BioRad) rapid agglutination test is one of the main rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) for meningococcal disease currently in use in the "meningitis belt". Earlier evaluations, performed after heating and centrifugation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples, under good laboratory conditions, showed high sensitivity and specificity. However, during an epidemic, the test may be used without prior sample preparation. Recently a new, easy-to-use dipstick RDT for meningococcal disease detection on CSF was developed by the Centre de Recherche Médicale et Sanitaire in Niger and the Pasteur Institute in France. We estimate diagnostic accuracy in the field during the 2006 outbreak of Neisseria meningitidis serogroup A in Maradi, Niger, for the dipstick RDT and Pastorex((R)) on unprepared CSF, (a) by comparing each test's sensitivity and specificity with previously reported values; and (b) by comparing results for each test on paired samples, using McNemar's test. We also (c) estimate diagnostic accuracy of the dipstick RDT on diluted whole blood. We tested unprepared CSF and diluted whole blood from 126 patients with suspected meningococcal disease presenting at four health posts. (a) Pastorex((R)) sensitivity (69%; 95%CI 57-79) was significantly lower than found previously for prepared CSF samples [87% (81-91); or 88% (85-91)], as was specificity [81% (95%CI 68-91) vs 93% (90-95); or 93% (87-96)]. Sensitivity of the dipstick RDT [89% (95%CI 80-95)] was similar to previously reported values for ideal laboratory conditions [89% (84-93) and 94% (90-96)]. Specificity, at 62% (95%CI 48-75), was significantly lower than found previously [94% (92-96) and 97% (94-99)]. (b) McNemar's test for the dipstick RDT vs Pastorex((R)) was statistically significant (p<0.001). (c) The dipstick RDT did not perform satisfactorily on diluted whole blood (sensitivity 73%; specificity 57%).Sensitivity and specificity of Pastorex((R)) without prior CSF preparation were poorer than previously reported results from prepared samples; therefore we caution against using this test during an epidemic if sample preparation is not possible. For the dipstick RDT, sensitivity was similar to, while specificity was not as high as previously reported during a more stable context. Further studies are needed to evaluate its field performance, especially for different populations and other serogroups.

Lapidus N, Minetti A, Djibo A, Guerin PJ, Hustache S, Gaboulaud V, Grais RF. 2009. Mortality risk among children admitted in a large-scale nutritional program in Niger, 2006. PLoS One, 4 (1), pp. e4313. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: In 2006, the Médecins sans Frontières nutritional program in the region of Maradi (Niger) included 68,001 children 6-59 months of age with either moderate or severe malnutrition, according to the NCHS reference (weight-for-height<80% of the NCHS median, and/or mid-upper arm circumference<110 mm for children taller than 65 cm and/or presence of bipedal edema). Our objective was to identify baseline risk factors for death among children diagnosed with severe malnutrition using the newly introduced WHO growth standards. As the release of WHO growth standards changed the definition of severe malnutrition, which now includes many children formerly identified as moderately malnourished with the NCHS reference, studying this new category of children is crucial. METHODOLOGY: Program monitoring data were collected from the medical records of all children admitted in the program. Data included age, sex, height, weight, MUAC, clinical signs on admission including edema, and type of discharge (recovery, death, and default/loss to follow up). Additional data included results of a malaria rapid diagnostic test due to Plasmodium falciparum (Paracheck) and whether the child was a resident of the region of Maradi or came from bordering Nigeria to seek treatment. Multivariate logistic regression was performed on a subset of 27,687 children meeting the new WHO growth standards criteria for severe malnutrition (weight-for-height<-3 Z score, mid-upper arm circumference<110 mm for children taller than 65 cm or presence of bipedal edema). We explored two different models: one with only basic anthropometric data and a second model that included perfunctory clinical signs. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: In the first model including only weight, height, sex and presence of edema, the risk factors retained were the weight/height(1.84) ratio (OR: 5,774; 95% CI: [2,284; 14,594]) and presence of edema (7.51 [5.12; 11.0]). A second model, taking into account supplementary data from perfunctory clinical examination, identified other risk factors for death: apathy (9.71 [6.92; 13.6]), pallor (2.25 [1.25; 4.05]), anorexia (1.89 [1.35; 2.66]), fever>38.5 degrees C (1.83 [1.25; 2.69]), and age below 1 year (1.42 [1.01; 1.99]). CONCLUSIONS: Although clinicians will continue to perform screening using clinical signs and anthropometry, these risk indicators may provide additional criteria for the assessment of absolute and relative risk of death. Better appraisal of the child's risk of death may help orientate the child towards either hospitalization or ambulatory care. As the transition from the NCHS growth reference to the WHO standards will increase the number of children classified as severely malnourished, further studies should explore means to identify children at highest risk of death within this group using simple and standardized indicators.

Kernéis S, Koivogui L, Magassouba N, Koulemou K, Lewis R, Aplogan A, Grais RF, Guerin PJ, Fichet-Calvet E. 2009. Prevalence and risk factors of Lassa seropositivity in inhabitants of the forest region of Guinea: a cross-sectional study. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 3 (11), pp. e548. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Lassa fever is a viral hemorrhagic fever endemic in West Africa. The reservoir host of the virus is a multimammate rat, Mastomys natalensis. Prevalence estimates of Lassa virus antibodies in humans vary greatly between studies, and the main modes of transmission of the virus from rodents to humans remain unclear. We aimed to (i) estimate the prevalence of Lassa virus-specific IgG antibodies (LV IgG) in the human population of a rural area of Guinea, and (ii) identify risk factors for positive LV IgG. METHODS AND FINDINGS: A population-based cross-sectional study design was used. In April 2000, all individuals one year of age and older living in three prefectures located in the tropical secondary forest area of Guinea (Gueckedou, Lola and Yomou) were sampled using two-stage cluster sampling. For each individual identified by the sampling procedure and who agreed to participate, a standardized questionnaire was completed to collect data on personal exposure to potential risk factors for Lassa fever (mainly contact with rodents), and a blood sample was tested for LV IgG. A multiple logistic regression model was used to determine risk factors for positive LV IgG. A total of 1424 subjects were interviewed and 977 sera were tested. Prevalence of positive LV Ig was of 12.9% [10.8%-15.0%] and 10.0% [8.1%-11.9%] in rural and urban areas, respectively. Two risk factors of positive LV IgG were identified: to have, in the past twelve months, undergone an injection (odds ratio [OR] = 1.8 [1.1-3.1]), or lived with someone displaying a haemorrhage (OR = 1.7 [1.1-2.9]). No factors related to contacts with rats and/or mice remained statistically significant in the multivariate analysis. CONCLUSIONS: Our study underlines the potential importance of person-to-person transmission of Lassa fever, via close contact in the same household or nosocomial exposure.

Gerstl S, Kiwila G, Dhorda M, Lonlas S, Myatt M, Ilunga BK, Lemasson D, Szumilin E, Guerin PJ, Ferradini L. 2009. Prevalence study of yaws in the Democratic Republic of Congo using the lot quality assurance sampling method. PLoS One, 4 (7), pp. e6338. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Until the 1970s the prevalence of non-venereal trepanomatosis, including yaws, was greatly reduced after worldwide mass treatment. In 2005, cases were again reported in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We carried out a survey to estimate the village-level prevalence of yaws in the region of Equator in the north of the country in order to define appropriate strategies to effectively treat the affected population. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We designed a community-based survey using the Lot Quality Assurance Sampling method to classify the prevalence of active yaws in 14 groups of villages (lots). The classification into high, moderate, or low yaws prevalence corresponded to World Health Organization prevalence thresholds for identifying appropriate operational treatment strategies. Active yaws cases were defined by suggestive clinical signs and positive rapid plasma reagin and Treponema pallidum hemagglutination serological tests. The overall prevalence in the study area was 4.7% (95% confidence interval: 3.4-6.0). Two of 14 lots had high prevalence (>10%), three moderate prevalence (5-10%) and nine low prevalence (<5%.). CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Although yaws is no longer a World Health Organization priority disease, the presence of yaws in a region where it was supposed to be eradicated demonstrates the importance of continued surveillance and control efforts. Yaws should remain a public health priority in countries where previously it was known to be endemic. The integration of sensitive surveillance systems together with free access to effective treatment is recommended. As a consequence of our study results, more than 16,000 people received free treatment against yaws.

Guthmann JP, Checchi F, van den Broek I, Balkan S, van Herp M, Comte E, Bernal O, Kindermans JM, Venis S, Legros D, Guerin PJ. 2008. Assessing antimalarial efficacy in a time of change to artemisinin-based combination therapies: the role of Médecins Sans Frontières. PLoS Med, 5 (8), pp. e169. | Read more

Bonnet M, Ramsay A, Githui W, Gagnidze L, Varaine F, Guerin PJ. 2008. Bleach sedimentation: an opportunity to optimize smear microscopy for tuberculosis diagnosis in settings of high prevalence of HIV. Clin Infect Dis, 46 (11), pp. 1710-1716. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The purpose of the study was to evaluate the performance and feasibility of tuberculosis diagnosis by sputum microscopy after bleach sedimentation, compared with by conventional direct smear microscopy, in a setting of high prevalence of HIV. METHODS: In a community-based study in Kenya (a population in which 50% of individuals with tuberculosis are infected with HIV), individuals with suspected pulmonary tuberculosis submitted 3 sputum specimens during 2 consecutive days, which were examined by blind evaluation. Ziehl-Neelsen-stained smears were made of fresh specimens and of specimens that were processed with 3.5% household bleach followed by overnight sedimentation. Two different cutoffs for acid-fast bacilli (AFB) per 100 high-power fields (HPF) were used to define a positive smear: >10 AFB/100 HPF and 1 AFB/100 HPF. Four smear-positive case definitions, based on 1 or 2 positive smears with the 1 AFB or 10 AFB cutoff, were used. RESULTS: Of 1879 specimens from 644 patients, 363 (19.3%) and 460 (24.5%) were positive by bleach sedimentation microscopy, compared with 301 (16.0%) and 374 (19.9%) by direct smear microscopy, with use of the 10 AFB/100 HPF (P < .001) and 1 AFB/100 HPF (P < .001) cutoffs, respectively. Regardless of the case definition used, bleach sedimentation microscopy detected significantly more positive cases than did direct smear microscopy: 26.7% (172 of 644) versus 21.7% (140 of 644), respectively, with the case definition of 1 positive smear and the 1 AFB/100 HPF cutoff (P < .001), and 21.4% (138 of 644) versus 18.6% (120 of 644), respectively, with the case definition of 1 positive smear and the 10 AFB/100 HPF cutoff (P < .001). Inter- and intrareader reproducibility were favorable, with kappa coefficients of 0.83 and 0.91, respectively. Bleach sedimentation was relatively inexpensive and was not time consuming. CONCLUSIONS: Bleach sedimentation microscopy is an effective, simple method to improve the yield of smear microscopy in a setting of high prevalence of HIV. Further evaluation of this method, under operational conditions, is urgently needed to determine its potential as a tool for tuberculosis control.

Brown V, Guerin PJ, Legros D, Paquet C, Pécoul B, Moren A. 2008. Research in complex humanitarian emergencies: the Médecins Sans Frontières/Epicentre experience. PLoS Med, 5 (4), pp. e89. | Read more

Dubray C, Ibrahim SA, Abdelmutalib M, Guerin PJ, Dantoine F, Belanger F, Legros D, Pinoges L, Brown V. 2008. Treatment of severe malnutrition with 2-day intramuscular ceftriaxone vs 5-day amoxicillin. Ann Trop Paediatr, 28 (1), pp. 13-22. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Systemic antibiotics are routinely prescribed for severe acute malnutrition (SAM). However, there is no consensus regarding the most suitable regimen. In a therapeutic feeding centre in Khartoum, Sudan, a randomised, unblinded, superiority-controlled trial was conducted, comparing once daily intramuscular injection with ceftriaxone for 2 days with oral amoxicillin twice daily for 5 days in children aged 6-59 months with SAM. METHODS: Commencing with the first measured weight gain (WG) following admission, the risk difference and 95% confidence interval (95% CI) for children with a WG > or = 10 g/kg/day were calculated over a 14-day period. The recovery rate and case fatality ratio (CFR) between the two groups were also calculated. RESULTS: In an intention-to-treat analysis of 458 children, 53.5% (123/230) in the amoxicillin group and 55.7% (127/228, difference 2.2%, 95% CI -6.9-11.3) in the ceftriaxone group had a WG > or = 10 g/kg/day during a 14-day period. Recovery rate was 70% (161/230) in the amoxicillin group and 74.6% (170/228) in the ceftriaxone group (p=0.27). CFR was 3.9% (9/230) and 3.1% (7/228), respectively (p=0.67). Most deaths occurred within the 1st 2 weeks of admission. CONCLUSION: In the absence of severe complications, either ceftriaxone or amoxicillin is appropriate for malnourished children. However, in ambulatory programmes, especially where there are large numbers of admissions, ceftriaxone should facilitate the work of medical personnel.

Ferrari MJ, Grais RF, Bharti N, Conlan AJ, Bjørnstad ON, Wolfson LJ, Guerin PJ, Djibo A, Grenfell BT. 2008. The dynamics of measles in sub-Saharan Africa. Nature, 451 (7179), pp. 679-684. | Show Abstract | Read more

Although vaccination has almost eliminated measles in parts of the world, the disease remains a major killer in some high birth rate countries of the Sahel. On the basis of measles dynamics for industrialized countries, high birth rate regions should experience regular annual epidemics. Here, however, we show that measles epidemics in Niger are highly episodic, particularly in the capital Niamey. Models demonstrate that this variability arises from powerful seasonality in transmission-generating high amplitude epidemics-within the chaotic domain of deterministic dynamics. In practice, this leads to frequent stochastic fadeouts, interspersed with irregular, large epidemics. A metapopulation model illustrates how increased vaccine coverage, but still below the local elimination threshold, could lead to increasingly variable major outbreaks in highly seasonally forced contexts. Such erratic dynamics emphasize the importance both of control strategies that address build-up of susceptible individuals and efforts to mitigate the impact of large outbreaks when they occur.

Guerin PJ, Naess LM, Fogg C, Rosenqvist E, Pinoges L, Bajunirwe F, Nabasumba C, Borrow R et al. 2008. Immunogenicity of fractional doses of tetravalent a/c/y/w135 meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine: results from a randomized non-inferiority controlled trial in Uganda. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 2 (12), pp. e342. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Neisseria meningitidis serogroup A is the main causative pathogen of meningitis epidemics in sub-Saharan Africa. In recent years, serogroup W135 has also been the cause of epidemics. Mass vaccination campaigns with polysaccharide vaccines are key elements in controlling these epidemics. Facing global vaccine shortage, we explored the use of fractional doses of a licensed A/C/Y/W135 polysaccharide meningococcal vaccine. METHODS AND FINDINGS: We conducted a randomized, non-inferiority trial in 750 healthy volunteers 2-19 years old in Mbarara, Uganda, to compare the immune response of the full dose of the vaccine versus fractional doses (1/5 or 1/10). Safety and tolerability data were collected for all subjects during the 4 weeks following the injection. Pre- and post-vaccination sera were analyzed by measuring serum bactericidal activity (SBA) with baby rabbit complement. A responder was defined as a subject with a > or =4-fold increase in SBA against a target strain from each serogroup and SBA titer > or =128. For serogroup W135, 94% and 97% of the vaccinees in the 1/5- and 1/10-dose arms, respectively, were responders, versus 94% in the full-dose arm; for serogroup A, 92% and 88% were responders, respectively, versus 95%. Non-inferiority was demonstrated between the full dose and both fractional doses in SBA seroresponse against serogroups W135 and Y, in total population analysis. Non-inferiority was shown between the full and 1/5 doses for serogroup A in the population non-immune prior to vaccination. Non-inferiority was not shown for any of the fractionate doses for serogroup C. Safety and tolerability data were favourable, as observed in other studies. CONCLUSIONS: While the advent of conjugate A vaccine is anticipated to largely contribute to control serogroup A outbreaks in Africa, the scale-up of its production will not cover the entire "Meningitis Belt" target population for at least the next 3 to 5 years. In view of the current shortage of meningococcal vaccines for Africa, the use of 1/5 fractional doses should be considered as an alternative in mass vaccination campaigns. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00271479.

Price RN, Dorsey G, Ashley EA, Barnes KI, Baird JK, d'Alessandro U, Guerin PJ, Laufer MK et al. 2007. World Antimalarial Resistance Network I: clinical efficacy of antimalarial drugs. Malar J, 6 (1), pp. 119. | Show Abstract | Read more

The proliferation of antimalarial drug trials in the last ten years provides the opportunity to launch a concerted global surveillance effort to monitor antimalarial drug efficacy. The diversity of clinical study designs and analytical methods undermines the current ability to achieve this. The proposed World Antimalarial Resistance Network (WARN) aims to establish a comprehensive clinical database from which standardised estimates of antimalarial efficacy can be derived and monitored over time from diverse geographical and endemic regions. The emphasis of this initiative is on five key variables which define the therapeutic response. Ensuring that these data are collected at the individual patient level in a consistent format will facilitate better data management and analytical practices, and ensure that clinical data can be readily collated and made amenable for pooled analyses. Such an approach, if widely adopted will permit accurate and timely recognition of trends in drug efficacy. This will guide not only appropriate interventions to deal with established multidrug resistant strains of malaria, but also facilitate prompt action when new strains of drug resistant plasmodia first emerge. A comprehensive global database incorporating the key determinants of the clinical response with in vitro, molecular and pharmacokinetic parameters will bring together relevant data on host, drug and parasite factors that are fundamental contributors to treatment efficacy. This resource will help guide rational drug policies that optimize antimalarial drug use, in the hope that the emergence and spread of resistance to new drugs can be, if not prevented, at least delayed.

Ahoua L, Etienne W, Fermon F, Godain G, Brown V, Kadjo K, Bouaffou K, Legros D, Guerin PJ. 2007. Outbreak of beriberi in a prison in Côte d'Ivoire. Food Nutr Bull, 28 (3), pp. 283-290. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: A beriberi outbreak occurred in the Maison d'Arrêt et de Correction d'Abidjan (MACA), a detention center in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, between October 2002 and April 2003. OBJECTIVE: A retrospective investigation was conducted to document the outbreak in April 2003. METHODS: A descriptive analysis and a case-control study were performed. A probable case patient was defined as a person detained in the center between October 2002 and April 2003 with at least two of the following symptoms: bilateral leg edema, dyspnea, positive squat test, motor deficiencies, and paresthesia. A definite case patient was defined as a probable case patient who showed clinical improvement under thiamin treatment. RESULTS: Of 712 cases reported, 115 (16%) were probable and 597 (84%) were definite. The overall attack rate was 14.1%, and the case fatality rate was 1.0% (7/712). The highest attack rate was reported in the building housing prisoners with long-term sentences (16.9%). All patients were male, and the mean age was 28 years. During the period studied, the penal ration provided a fifth of the quantity of thiamin recommended by international standards. After adjustment for potential confounders, a history of cholera infection (adjusted odds ratio [OR(a)], 12.9; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.9 to 54.1) and incarceration in the building for severe penalties (OR(a), 4.8; 95% CI, 1.3 to 18.5) were associated with the disease. CONCLUSIONS: Beriberi has been underreported among prisoners. Further attention should be given to its risk factors, especially a history of acute diarrhea. Systematic food supplementation with vitamins and micronutrients should be discussed when the penal ration does not provide the necessary nutrient intake recommended according to international standards.

Bonnet M, Ramsay A, Gagnidze L, Githui W, Guerin PJ, Varaine F. 2007. Reducing the number of sputum samples examined and thresholds for positivity: an opportunity to optimise smear microscopy. Int J Tuberc Lung Dis, 11 (9), pp. 953-958. | Show Abstract

SETTING: Urban health clinic, Nairobi. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the impact on tuberculosis (TB) case detection and laboratory workload of reducing the number of sputum smears examined and thresholds for diagnosing positive smears and positive cases. DESIGN: In this prospective study, three Ziehl-Neelsen stained sputum smears from consecutive pulmonary TB suspects were examined blind. The standard approach (A), > or = 2 positive smears out of 3, using a cut-off of 10 acid-fast bacilli (AFB)/100 high-power fields (HPF), was compared with approaches B, > or = 2 positive smears (> or = 4 AFB/100 HPF) out of 3, one of which is > or = 10 AFB/100 HPF; C, > or = 2 positive smears (> or = 4 AFB/100 HPF) out of 3; D, > or = 1 positive smear (> or = 10 AFB/100 HPF) out of 2; and E, > or = 1 positive smear (> or = 4 AFB/100 HPF) out of 2. The microscopy gold standard was detection of at least one positive smear (> or = 4 AFB/100 HPF) out of 3. RESULTS: Among 644 TB suspects, the alternative approaches detected from 114 (17.7%) (approach B) to 123 cases (19.1%) (approach E) compared to 105 cases (16.3%) for approach A (P < 0.005). Sensitivity ranged between 82.0% (105/128) for A and 96.1% (123/128) for E. The single positive smear approaches reduced the number of smears by 36% compared to approach A. CONCLUSION: Reducing the number of specimens and the positivity threshold to define a positive case increased the sensitivity of microscopy and reduced laboratory workload.

Micol R, Lortholary O, Sar B, Laureillard D, Ngeth C, Dousset JP, Chanroeun H, Ferradini L, Guerin PJ, Dromer F, Fontanet A. 2007. Prevalence, determinants of positivity, and clinical utility of cryptococcal antigenemia in Cambodian HIV-infected patients. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr, 45 (5), pp. 555-559. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVES: To determine the prevalence, determinants ofpositivity, and clinical utility of serum cryptococcal polysaccharide (CPS) antigen testing among HIV-infected patients in 2004 in Cambodia, an area highly endemic for cryptococcosis. METHODS: All HIV-infected patients with a CD4+ count <200 cells/mm3 attending 1 of 2 Phnom Penh hospitals for the first time were systematically screened for serum CPS. Patients with positive test results were further investigated to identify those with cryptococcal meningitis (CM), pulmonary cryptococcosis, or isolated positive cryptococcal antigenemia (IPCA). RESULTS: The median (interquartile range [IQR]) CD4+ count of 327 enrolled patients was 24 (IQR: 8 to 65) cells/mm3. The prevalence of cryptococcal infection was 59 (18.0%) of 327 cases, of which 41 were CM and 10 were IPCA. In the absence of serum CPS detection, 17 (28.8%) of 59 cryptococcal infections would have been missed on the day of consultation. In patients with no specific symptoms of meningoencephalitis, the prevalence of positive serum CPS detection was 32 (10.8%) of 295 cases. Countryside residence (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 3.6), headache (AOR = 3.2), body mass index <15.4 kg/m2 (AOR = 3.4), CD4+ count <50 cells/mm3 (AOR = 4.0), and male gender (marginally, AOR = 2.1) were all independently associated with a positive test results. CONCLUSION: Serum CPS screening among AIDS patients with a CD4+ count <100 cells/mm3 is useful in areas highly endemic for cryptococcosis, allowing early diagnosis and treatment of this opportunistic infection.

Weill FX, Tran HH, Roumagnac P, Fabre L, Minh NB, Stavnes TL, Lassen J, Bjune G, Grimont PA, Guerin PJ. 2007. Clonal reconquest of antibiotic-susceptible Salmonella enterica serotype Typhi in Son La Province, Vietnam. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 76 (6), pp. 1174-1181. | Show Abstract

In the last three decades, high rates of resistance to common first-line antimicrobial agents have been reported in Salmonella enterica serotype Typhi (Typhi), the causative organism of typhoid fever (TF), in many regions of the world, especially in South East Asia. Analysis of Typhi strains isolated from outbreaks and sporadic cases of TF in Son La province, northwest Vietnam, in 2002 revealed that 94.5% (85/90) of the isolates were fully susceptible to amoxicillin, chloramphenicol, cotrimoxazole, tetracycline, and nalidixic acid. There was a clear decline in the occurrence of multi-drug resistant (MDR) Typhi isolates collected in this province in 2002 (4.4%) compared with the period 1995-1999 in the same province (30.8-100%). By using molecular (IS200 profiling, PstI-ribotyping, XbaI-pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, and haplotyping) and phage-typing methods, we showed that the Typhi isolates from Son La province in 2002 were genetically related; however, they were unrelated to the previous MDR clones established in Vietnam.

Nathan N, Rose AM, Legros D, Tiendrebeogo SR, Bachy C, Bjørløw E, Firmenich P, Guerin PJ, Caugant DA. 2007. Meningitis serogroup W135 outbreak, Burkina Faso, 2002. Emerg Infect Dis, 13 (6), pp. 920-923. | Show Abstract | Read more

In 2002, the largest epidemic of Neisseria meningitidis serogroup W135 occurred in Burkina Faso. The highest attack rate was in children <5 years of age. We describe cases from 1 district and evaluate the performance of the Pastorex test, which had good sensitivity (84%) and specificity (89%) compared with culture or PCR.

Vanlerberghe V, Diap G, Guerin PJ, Meheus F, Gerstl S, Van der Stuyft P, Boelaert M. 2007. Drug policy for visceral leishmaniasis: a cost-effectiveness analysis. Trop Med Int Health, 12 (2), pp. 274-283. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVE: To facilitate the choice of the best visceral leishmaniasis (VL) treatment strategy for first-line health services in (VL)-endemic areas, we compared in a formal decision analysis the cost and the cost-effectiveness of the different available options. METHODS: We selected four drug regimens for VL on the basis of frequency of use, feasibility and reported efficacy studies. The point estimates and the range of plausible values of effectiveness and cost were retrieved from a literature review. A decision tree was constructed and the strategy minimizing the cost per death averted was selected. RESULTS: Treatment with amphotericin B deoxycholate was the most effective approach in the baseline analysis and averted 87.2% of all deaths attributable to VL. The least expensive and the most cost-effective treatment was the miltefosine regimen, and the most expensive and the least cost-effective was AmBisome treatment. The cost of drug and medical care are the main determinants of the cost-effectiveness ranking of the alternative schemes. Sensitivity analysis showed that antimonial was competitive with miltefosine in the low-resistance regions. CONCLUSION: In areas with >94% response rates to antimonials, generic sodium stibogluconate remains the most cost-effective option for VL treatment, mainly due to low drug cost. In other regions, miltefosine is the most cost-effective option of treatment, but its use as a first-line drug is limited by its teratogenicity and rapid resistance development. AmBisome in mono- or combination therapy is too expensive to compete in cost-effectiveness with the other regimens.

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Grais RF, Dubray C, Gerstl S, Guthmann JP, Djibo A, Nargaye KD, Coker J, Alberti KP et al. 2007. Unacceptably high mortality related to measles epidemics in Niger, Nigeria, and Chad PLoS Medicine, 4 (1), pp. 0122-0129. | Show Abstract | Read more

Background: Despite the comprehensive World Health Organization (WHO)/United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) measles mortality-reduction strategy and the Measles Initiative, a partnership of international organizations supporting measles mortality reduction in Africa, certain high-burden countries continue to face recurrent epidemics. To our knowledge, few recent studies have documented measles mortality in sub-Saharan Africa. The objective of our study was to investigate measles mortality in three recent epidemics in Niamey (Niger), N'Djamena (Chad), and Adamawa State (Nigeria). Methods and Findings: We conducted three exhaustive household retrospective mortality surveys in one neighbourhood of each of the three affected areas: Boukoki, Niamey, Niger (April 2004, n = 26,795); Moursal, N'Djamena, Chad (June 2005, n = 21,812); and Dong District, Adamawa State, Nigeria (April 2005, n = 16,249), where n is the total surveyed population in each of the respective areas. Study populations included all persons resident for at least 2 wk prior to the study, a duration encompassing the measles incubation period. Heads of households provided information on measles cases, clinical outcomes up to 30 d after rash onset, and health-seeking behaviour during the epidemic. Measles cases and deaths were ascertained using standard WHO surveillance-case definitions. Our main outcome measures were measles attack rates (ARs) and case fatality ratios (CFRs) by age group, and descriptions of measles complications and health-seeking behaviour. Measles ARs were the highest in children under 5 y old (under 5 y): 17.1% in Boukoki, 17.2% in Moursal, and 24.3% in Dong District. CFRs in under 5-y-olds were 4.6%, 4.0%, and 10.8% in Boukoki, Moursal, and Dong District, respectively. In all sites, more than half of measles cases in children aged under 5 y experienced acute respiratory infection and/or diarrhoea in the 30 d following rash onset. Of measles cases, it was reported that 85.7% (979/1,142) of patients visited a health-care facility within 30 d after rash onset in Boukoki, 73.5% (519/706) in Moursal, and 52.8% (603/1,142) in Dong District. Conclusions: Children in these countries still face unacceptably high mortality from a completely preventable disease. While the successes of measles mortality-reduction strategies and progress observed in measles control in other countries of the region are laudable and evident, they should not overshadow the need for intensive efforts in countries that have just begun implementation of the WHO/UNICEF comprehensive strategy. © 2007 Grais et al.

Guerin PJ, Grais RF, Rottingen JA, Valleron AJ, Shigella Study Group. 2007. Using European travellers as an early alert to detect emerging pathogens in countries with limited laboratory resources. BMC Public Health, 7 pp. 8. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The volume, extent and speed of travel have dramatically increased in the past decades, providing the potential for an infectious disease to spread through the transportation network. By collecting information on the suspected place of infection, existing surveillance systems in industrialized countries may provide timely information for areas of the world without adequate surveillance currently in place. We present the results of a case study using reported cases of Shigella dysenteriae serotype 1 (Sd1) in European travellers to detect "events" of Sd1, related to either epidemic cases or endemic cases in developing countries. METHODS: We identified papers from a Medline search for reported events of Sd1 from 1940 to 2002. We requested data on shigella infections reported to the responsible surveillance entities in 17 European countries. Reports of Sd1 from the published literature were then compared with Sd1 notified cases among European travellers from 1990 to 2002. RESULTS: Prior to a large epidemic in 1999-2000, no cases of Sd1 had been identified in West Africa. However, if travellers had been used as an early warning, Sd1 could have been identified in this region as earlier as 1992. CONCLUSION: This project demonstrates that tracking diseases in European travellers could be used to detect emerging disease in developing countries. This approach should be further tested with a view to the continuous improvement of national health surveillance systems and existing European networks, and may play a significant role in aiding the international public health community to improve infectious disease control.

Caugant DA, Fogg C, Bajunirwe F, Piola P, Twesigye R, Mutebi F, Frøholm LO, Rosenqvist E et al. 2006. Pharyngeal carriage of Neisseria meningitidis in 2-19-year-old individuals in Uganda. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 100 (12), pp. 1159-1163. | Show Abstract | Read more

In southern Uganda, only sporadic cases of serogroup A meningococcal disease have been reported since 2000. As part of an immunogenicity study of the tetravalent meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine, nasopharyngeal swab samples were collected twice, 4 weeks apart, from 2-19-year-old healthy individuals in Mbarara, Uganda. Only 15 (2.0%) of the 750 individuals carried meningococci asymptomatically. Most of the strains were non-serogroupable and none were serogroup A. However, two individuals carried a serogroup W135 strain, sequence type (ST)-11, similar to the clone that was responsible for the epidemic in Burkina Faso in 2002. Our study further demonstrates the geographical spread of serogroup W135 ST-11 strain and thus the potential epidemic risk.

Grais RF, Conlan AC, Ferrari MJ, Djibo A, Fermon F, Guerin PJ, Dubray C, Bjornstad ON, Grenfell BT. 2006. Emergency vaccination responses during large measles outbreaks: Early intervention leads to a high proportion of averted cases AMERICAN JOURNAL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE AND HYGIENE, 75 (5), pp. 191-191.

Guerin PJ, Naess LM, Fogg C, Rosenqvist E, Pinoges L, Bajunirwe F, Twesigye R, Borrow R et al. 2006. Use of fractional dose tetravalent A, C, W135 and Y meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine: A non inferiority trial AMERICAN JOURNAL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE AND HYGIENE, 75 (5), pp. 202-202.

Borel T, Rose AM, Guillerm M, Sidikou F, Gerstl S, Djibo A, Nathan N, Chanteau S, Guerin PJ. 2006. High sensitivity and specificity of the Pastorex latex agglutination test for Neisseria meningitidis serogroup A during a clinical trial in Niger. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 100 (10), pp. 964-969. | Show Abstract | Read more

There is a great need for a rapid diagnostic test to guide vaccine choice during outbreaks of meningococcal meningitis in resource-poor countries. During a randomised clinical trial conducted during an epidemic of Neisseria meningitidis serogroup A in Niger in 2003, the sensitivity and specificity of the Pastorex latex agglutination test for this serogroup under optimal field conditions were assessed, using culture and/or PCR as the gold standard. Results from 484 samples showed a sensitivity of 88% (95% CI 85-91%) and a specificity of 93% (95% CI 90-95%). Pastorex could be a good alternative to current methods, as it can be performed in a local laboratory with rapid results and is highly specific. Sensitivity can be improved with prior microscopy where feasible. A study specifically to evaluate the Pastorex test under epidemic conditions, using laboratories with limited resources, is recommended.

Grais RF, Ferrari MJ, Dubray C, Bjørnstad ON, Grenfell BT, Djibo A, Fermon F, Guerin PJ. 2006. Estimating transmission intensity for a measles epidemic in Niamey, Niger: lessons for intervention. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 100 (9), pp. 867-873. | Show Abstract | Read more

The objective of this study is to estimate the effective reproductive ratio for the 2003-2004 measles epidemic in Niamey, Niger. Using the results of a retrospective and prospective study of reported cases within Niamey during the 2003-2004 epidemic, we estimate the basic reproductive ratio, effective reproductive ratio (RE) and minimal vaccination coverage necessary to avert future epidemics using a recent method allowing for estimation based on the epidemic case series. We provide these estimates for geographic areas within Niamey, thereby identifying neighbourhoods at high risk. The estimated citywide RE was 2.8, considerably lower than previous estimates, which may help explain the long duration of the epidemic. Transmission intensity varied during the course of the epidemic and within different neighbourhoods (RE range: 1.4-4.7). Our results indicate that vaccination coverage in currently susceptible children should be increased by at least 67% (vaccine efficacy 90%) to produce a citywide vaccine coverage of 90%. This research highlights the importance of local differences in vaccination coverage on the potential impact of epidemic control measures. The spatial-temporal spread of the epidemic from district to district in Niamey over 30 weeks suggests that targeted interventions within the city could have an impact.

Grais RF, DE Radiguès X, Dubray C, Fermon F, Guerin PJ. 2006. Exploring the time to intervene with a reactive mass vaccination campaign in measles epidemics. Epidemiol Infect, 134 (4), pp. 845-849. | Show Abstract | Read more

The current WHO policy during measles outbreaks focuses on case management rather than reactive vaccination campaigns in urban areas of resource-poor countries having low vaccine coverage. Vaccination campaigns may be costly, or not timely enough to impact significantly on morbidity and mortality. We explored the time available for intervention during two recent epidemics. Our analysis suggests that the spread of measles in African urban settings may not be as fast as expected. Examining measles epidemic spread in Kinshasa (DRC), and Niamey (Niger) reveals a progression of smaller epidemics. Intervening with a mass campaign or in areas where cases have not yet been reported could slow the epidemic spread. The results of this preliminary analysis illustrate the importance of revisiting outbreak response plans.

Enouf V, Dos Reis G, Guthmann JP, Guerin PJ, Caron M, Marechal V, Nicand E. 2006. Validation of single real-time TaqMan PCR assay for the detection and quantitation of four major genotypes of hepatitis E virus in clinical specimens. J Med Virol, 78 (8), pp. 1076-1082. | Show Abstract | Read more

Since the characterization of the genome of the hepatitis E virus (HEV) in 1990, a large genetic diversity has been described. A single real-time reverse transcription (RT)-PCR assay with TaqMan technology has been validated which uses only one set of primers and probe within the ORF2 HEV region (nt 5207-5292) for the detection and quantification of the four major genotypes of HEV. This assay proved to be as efficient as the conventional RT-PCR methodology for the detection of HEV in clinical samples testing positive previously. The real-time RT-PCR and conventional RT-PCR were performed comparatively on 60 pairs of sera and stools collected during a recent outbreak of hepatitis E in Darfur. The real-time RT-PCR assay was 10- to 100-fold sensitive than for conventional RT-PCR assays used in this study with a range quantitation from 1.8 x 10(1) to 7.2 x 10(3) RNA copies/microl in clinical samples (serum and stools).

Guthmann JP, Klovstad H, Boccia D, Hamid N, Pinoges L, Nizou JY, Tatay M, Diaz F et al. 2006. A large outbreak of hepatitis E among a displaced population in Darfur, Sudan, 2004: the role of water treatment methods. Clin Infect Dis, 42 (12), pp. 1685-1691. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The conflict in Darfur, Sudan, was responsible for the displacement of 1.8 million civilians. We investigated a large outbreak of hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection in Mornay camp (78,800 inhabitants) in western Darfur. METHODS: To describe the outbreak, we used clinical and demographic information from cases recorded at the camp between 26 July and 31 December 2004. We conducted a case-cohort study and a retrospective cohort study to identify risk factors for clinical and asymptomatic hepatitis E, respectively. We collected stool and serum samples from animals and performed a bacteriological analysis of water samples. Human samples were tested for immunoglobulin G and immunoglobulin M antibody to HEV (for serum samples) and for amplification of the HEV genome (for serum and stool samples). RESULTS: In 6 months, 2621 hepatitis E cases were recorded (attack rate, 3.3%), with a case-fatality rate of 1.7% (45 deaths, 19 of which involved were pregnant women). Risk factors for clinical HEV infection included age of 15-45 years (odds ratio, 2.13; 95% confidence interval, 1.02-4.46) and drinking chlorinated surface water (odds ratio, 2.49; 95% confidence interval, 1.22-5.08). Both factors were also suggestive of increased risk for asymptomatic HEV infection, although this was not found to be statistically significant. HEV RNA was positively identified in serum samples obtained from 2 donkeys. No bacteria were identified from any sample of chlorinated water tested. CONCLUSIONS: Current recommendations to ensure a safe water supply may have been insufficient to inactivate HEV and control this epidemic. This research highlights the need to evaluate current water treatment methods and to identify alternative solutions adapted to complex emergencies.

Boccia D, Guthmann JP, Klovstad H, Hamid N, Tatay M, Ciglenecki I, Nizou JY, Nicand E, Guerin PJ. 2006. High mortality associated with an outbreak of hepatitis E among displaced persons in Darfur, Sudan. Clin Infect Dis, 42 (12), pp. 1679-1684. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Hepatitis E virus (HEV) causes acute onset of jaundice and a high case-fatality ratio in pregnant women. We provide a clinical description of hospitalized case patients and assess the specific impact on pregnant women during a large epidemic of HEV infection in a displaced population in Mornay camp (78,800 inhabitants), western Darfur, Sudan. METHODS: We reviewed hospital records. A sample of 20 clinical cases underwent laboratory confirmation. These patients were tested for immunoglobulin G (IgG) and immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibody to HEV (serum) and for amplification of the HEV genome (serum and stool). We performed a cross-sectional survey in the community to determine the attack rate and case-fatality ratio in pregnant women. RESULTS: Over 6 months, 253 HEV cases were recorded at the hospital, of which 61 (24.1%) were in pregnant women. A total of 72 cases (39.1% of those for whom clinical records were available) had a diagnosis of hepatic encephalopathy. Of the 45 who died (case-fatality ratio, 17.8%), 19 were pregnant women (specific case-fatality ratio, 31.1%). Acute hepatitis E was confirmed in 95% (19/20) of cases sampled; 18 case-patients were positive for IgG (optical density ratio > or =3), for IgM (optical density ratio >2 ), or for both, whereas 1 was negative for IgG and IgM but positive for HEV RNA in serum. The survey identified 220 jaundiced women among the 1133 pregnant women recorded over 3 months (attack rate, 19.4%). A total of 18 deaths were recorded among these jaundiced pregnant women (specific case-fatality ratio, 8.2%). CONCLUSIONS: This large epidemic of HEV infection illustrates the dramatic impact of this disease on pregnant women. Timely interventions and a vaccine are urgently needed to prevent mortality in this special group.

Cavailler P, Lucas M, Perroud V, McChesney M, Ampuero S, Guérin PJ, Legros D, Nierle T et al. 2006. Feasibility of a mass vaccination campaign using a two-dose oral cholera vaccine in an urban cholera-endemic setting in Mozambique. Vaccine, 24 (22), pp. 4890-4895. | Show Abstract | Read more

We conducted a study to assess the feasibility and the potential vaccine coverage of a mass vaccination campaign using a two-dose oral cholera vaccine in an urban endemic neighbourhood of Beira, Mozambique. The campaign was conducted from December 2003 to January 2004. Overall 98,152 doses were administered, and vaccine coverage of the target population was 58.6% and 53.6% for the first and second rounds, respectively. The direct cost of the campaign, which excludes the price of the vaccine, amounted to slightly over 90,000 dollars, resulting in the cost per fully vaccinated person of 2.09 dollars, which is relatively high. However, in endemic settings where outbreaks are likely to occur, integrating cholera vaccination into the routine activities of the public health system could reduce such costs.

Dubray C, Gervelmeyer A, Djibo A, Jeanne I, Fermon F, Soulier MH, Grais RF, Guerin PJ. 2006. Late vaccination reinforcement during a measles epidemic in Niamey, Niger (2003-2004). Vaccine, 24 (18), pp. 3984-3989. | Show Abstract | Read more

Low measles vaccination coverage (VC) leads to recurrent epidemics in many African countries. We describe VC before and after late reinforcement of vaccination activities during a measles epidemic in Niamey, Niger (2003-2004) assessed by Lot Quality Assurance Sampling (LQAS). Neighborhoods of Niamey were grouped into 46 lots based on geographic proximity and population homogeneity. Before reinforcement activities, 96% of lots had a VC below 70%. After reinforcement, this proportion fell to 78%. During the intervention 50% of children who had no previous record of measles vaccination received their first dose (vaccination card or parental recall). Our results highlight the benefits and limitations of vaccine reinforcement activities performed late in the epidemic.

Ferradini L, Jeannin A, Pinoges L, Izopet J, Odhiambo D, Mankhambo L, Karungi G, Szumilin E et al. 2006. Scaling up of highly active antiretroviral therapy in a rural district of Malawi: an effectiveness assessment. Lancet, 367 (9519), pp. 1335-1342. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The recording of outcomes from large-scale, simplified HAART (highly active antiretroviral therapy) programmes in sub-Saharan Africa is critical. We aimed to assess the effectiveness of such a programme held by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in the Chiradzulu district, Malawi. METHODS: We scaled up and simplified HAART in this programme since August, 2002. We analysed survival indicators, CD4 count evolution, virological response, and adherence to treatment. We included adults who all started HAART 6 months or more before the analysis. HIV-1 RNA plasma viral load and self-reported adherence were assessed on a subsample of patients, and antiretroviral resistance mutations were analysed in plasma with viral loads greater than 1000 copies per mL. Analysis was by intention to treat. FINDINGS: Of the 1308 patients who were eligible, 827 (64%) were female, the median age was 34.9 years (IQR 29.9-41.0), and 1023 (78%) received d4T/3TC/NVP (stavudine, lamivudine, and nevirapine) as a fixed-dose combination. At baseline, 1266 individuals (97%) were HAART-naive, 357 (27%) were at WHO stage IV, 311 (33%) had a body-mass index of less than 18.5 kg/m2, and 208 (21%) had a CD4 count lower than 50 cells per muL. At follow-up (median 8.3 months, IQR 5.5-13.1), 967 (74%) were still on HAART, 243 (19%) had died, 91 (7%) were lost to follow-up, and seven (0.5%) discontinued treatment. Low body-mass index, WHO stage IV, male sex, and baseline CD4 count lower than 50 cells per muL were independent determinants of death in the first 6 months. At 12 months, the probability of individuals still in care was 0.76 (95% CI 0.73-0.78) and the median CD4 gain was 165 (IQR 67-259) cells per muL. In the cross-sectional survey (n=398), 334 (84%) had a viral load of less than 400 copies per mL. Of several indicators measuring adherence, self-reported poor adherence (<80%) in the past 4 days was the best predictor of detectable viral load (odds ratio 5.4, 95% CI 1.9-15.6). INTERPRETATION: These data show that large numbers of people can rapidly benefit from antiretroviral therapy in rural resource-poor settings and strongly supports the implementation of such large-scale simplified programmes in Africa.

Rolland E, Checchi F, Pinoges L, Balkan S, Guthmann JP, Guerin PJ. 2006. Operational response to malaria epidemics: are rapid diagnostic tests cost-effective? Trop Med Int Health, 11 (4), pp. 398-408. | Show Abstract | Read more

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.

Guerin PJ, Nygard K, Siitonen A, Vold L, Kuusi M, de Jong B, Rottingen JA, Alvseike O et al. 2006. Emerging Salmonella Enteritidis anaerogenic phage type 14b: outbreak in Norwegian, Swedish and Finnish travellers returning from Greece. Euro Surveill, 11 (2), pp. 61-66. | Show Abstract

In July 2001, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (Folkehelseinstituttet, FHI) reported a cluster of Salmonella Enteritidis of phage type 14b infections in Norwegian travellers returning from Greece. An increase in the same uncommon phage type was also registered in Sweden and Finland at the same time. Cases of S. Enteritidis PT 14b in patients returning from Greece were reported in these three Nordic countries in 2001 (303 cases), 2002 (164 cases) and 2003 (199 cases). Case-control studies performed in 2001 in Norway and Sweden indicated that consumption of chicken was associated with illness. In 2002 and 2003, continuing case reports indicated that this uncommon phage type had probably become established in the Greek food chain. Tour operators were informed and contacts were made with Greek public health authorities. Because place of infection is not systematically included in most Salmonella notification systems, the S. Enteritidis phage type 14b outbreak reported here may represent only part of a larger outbreak among travellers visiting Greece. Infections are often reported only in the tourists' home countries and public health authorities in the tourist destinations may not be aware of the problem. Further collaboration between national institutes of public health in Europe is needed to detect outbreaks occurring among tourists.

Olliaro PL, Guerin PJ, Gerstl S, Haaskjold AA, Rottingen JA, Sundar S. 2005. Treatment options for visceral leishmaniasis: a systematic review of clinical studies done in India, 1980-2004. Lancet Infect Dis, 5 (12), pp. 763-774. | Show Abstract | Read more

The state of Bihar in India carries the largest share of the world's burden of antimony-resistant visceral leishmaniasis. We analysed clinical studies done in Bihar with different treatments between 1980 and 2004. Overall, 53 studies were included (all but one published), of which 15 were comparative (randomised, quasi-randomised, or non-randomised), 23 dose-finding, and 15 non-comparative. Data from comparative studies were pooled when appropriate for meta-analysis. Overall, these studies enrolled 7263 patients in 123 treatment arms. Adequacy of methods used to do the studies and report on them varied. Unresponsiveness to antimony has developed steadily in the past to such an extent that antimony must now be replaced, despite attempts to stop its progression by increasing dose and duration of therapy. The classic second-line treatments are unsuited: pentamidine is toxic and its efficacy has also declined, and amphotericin B deoxycholate is effective but requires hospitalisation for long periods and toxicity is common. Liposomal amphotericin B is very effective and safe but currently unaffordable because of its high price. Miltefosine-the first oral drug for visceral leishmaniasis-is now registered and marketed in India and is effective, but should be used under supervision to prevent misuse. Paromomycin (or aminosidine) is effective and safe, and although not yet available, a regulatory submission is due soon. To preserve the limited armamentarium of drugs to treat visceral leishmaniasis, drugs should not be deployed unprotected; combinations can make drugs last longer, improve treatment, and reduce costs to households and health systems. India, Bangladesh, and Nepal agreed recently to undertake measures towards the elimination of visceral leishmaniasis. The lessons learnt in Bihar could help inform policy decisions both regionally and elsewhere.

Tran HH, Bjune G, Nguyen BM, Rottingen JA, Grais RF, Guerin PJ. 2005. Risk factors associated with typhoid fever in Son La province, northern Vietnam. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 99 (11), pp. 819-826. | Show Abstract | Read more

Between July and December 2002, we undertook a hospital-based case-control study to identify risk factors associated with typhoid fever in Son La province, northern Vietnam. Among 617 suspected cases, 90 cases of typhoid fever were confirmed by blood or stool culture. One hundred and eighty controls (neighbours of typhoid cases matched for gender and age) were chosen. Participants were interviewed at home using a standardized questionnaire. Seventy-five per cent of cases were aged 10-44 years. No cases in patients aged less than 5 years were recorded in this study. In a conditional logistic regression analysis recent contact with a typhoid patient (OR = 3.3, 95% CI 1.7-6.2, P < 0.001), no education (OR = 2.0, 95% CI 1.0-3.7, P = 0.03) and drinking untreated water (OR = 3.9, 95% CI 2.0-7.5, P < 0.001) were independently associated with typhoid fever. Improving quality of drinking water must be a priority and health education strategies targeted at individuals with no schooling, and contacts of patients, would be expected to decrease the burden of typhoid fever.

Nathan N, Borel T, Djibo A, Evans D, Djibo S, Corty JF, Guillerm M, Alberti KP, Pinoges L, Guerin PJ, Legros D. 2005. Ceftriaxone as effective as long-acting chloramphenicol in short-course treatment of meningococcal meningitis during epidemics: a randomised non-inferiority study. Lancet, 366 (9482), pp. 308-313. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: In sub-Saharan Africa in the 1990s, more than 600,000 people had epidemic meningococcal meningitis, of whom 10% died. The current recommended treatment by WHO is short-course long-acting oily chloramphenicol. Continuation of the production of this drug is uncertain, so simple alternatives need to be found. We assessed whether the efficacy of single-dose treatment of ceftriaxone was non-inferior to that of oily chloramphenicol for epidemic meningococcal meningitis. METHODS: In 2003, we undertook a randomised, open-label, non-inferiority trial in nine health-care facilities in Niger. Participants with suspected disease who were older than 2 months were randomly assigned to receive either chloramphenicol or ceftriaxone. Primary outcome was treatment failure (defined as death or clinical failure) at 72 h, measured with intention-to-treat and per-protocol analyses. FINDINGS: Of 510 individuals with suspected disease, 247 received ceftriaxone, 256 received chloramphenicol, and seven were lost to follow-up. The treatment failure rate at 72 h for the intention-to-treat analysis was 9% (22 patients) for both drug groups (risk difference 0.3%, 90% CI -3.8 to 4.5). Case fatality rates and clinical failure rates were equivalent in both treatment groups (14 [6%] ceftriaxone vs 12 [5%] chloramphenicol). Results were also similar for both treatment groups in individuals with confirmed meningitis caused by Neisseria meningitidis. No adverse side-effects were reported. INTERPRETATION: Single-dose ceftriaxone provides an alternative treatment for epidemic meningococcal meningitis--its efficacy, ease of use, and low cost favour its use. National and international health partners should consider ceftriaxone as an alternative first-line treatment to chloramphenicol for epidemic meningococcal meningitis.

Guerin PJ, Vold L, Aavitsland P. 2005. Communicable disease control in a migrant seasonal workers population: a case study in Norway. Euro Surveill, 10 (3), pp. 48-50. | Show Abstract

Reliable data on the health status of migrant seasonal workers in Europe is scarce. Access to public health care for this population depends on national regulations, and their legal status in host countries. In this manuscript we describe a case study of a salmonellosis outbreak that occurred in Norway, and highlight the difficulties encountered in applying control measures in a population of seasonal migrant farm workers. Surveillance and control of infectious diseases need to be supported by legislation which makes implementation of control measures possible. Efforts have been made to improve the rights for migrants in Europe with regard to healthcare, but seasonal migrant workers still remain largely outsiders where these measures are concerned. Special attention should be given to this disadvantaged group in terms of social rights and healthcare. Preparedness plans should be improved to deal with contagious pathogens involving the seasonal migrant population.

Lucas ME, Deen JL, von Seidlein L, Wang XY, Ampuero J, Puri M, Ali M, Ansaruzzaman M et al. 2005. Effectiveness of mass oral cholera vaccination in Beira, Mozambique. N Engl J Med, 352 (8), pp. 757-767. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: New-generation, orally administered cholera vaccines offer the promise of improved control of cholera in sub-Saharan Africa. However, the high prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in many cholera-affected African populations has raised doubts about the level of protection possible with vaccination. We evaluated a mass immunization program with recombinant cholera-toxin B subunit, killed whole-cell (rBS-WC) oral cholera vaccine in Beira, Mozambique, a city where the seroprevalence of HIV is 20 to 30 percent. METHODS: From December 2003 to January 2004, we undertook mass immunization of nonpregnant persons at least two years of age, using a two-dose regimen of rBS-WC vaccine in Esturro, Beira (population 21,818). We then assessed vaccine protection in a case-control study during an outbreak of El Tor Ogawa cholera in Beira between January and May 2004. To estimate the level of vaccine protection, antecedent rates of vaccination were compared between persons with culture-confirmed cholera severe enough to have prompted them to seek treatment and age- and sex-matched neighborhood controls without treated diarrhea. RESULTS: We assessed the effectiveness of the vaccine in 43 persons with cholera and 172 controls. Receipt of one or more doses of rBS-WC vaccine was associated with 78 percent protection (95 percent confidence interval, 39 to 92 percent; P=0.004). The vaccine was equally effective in children younger than five years of age and in older persons. A concurrently conducted case-control study designed to detect bias compared persons with treated, noncholeraic diarrhea and controls without diarrhea in the same population and found no protection associated with receipt of the rBS-WC vaccine. CONCLUSIONS: The rBS-WC vaccine was highly effective against clinically significant cholera in an urban sub-Saharan African population with a high prevalence of HIV infection.

Guerin PJ, Brasher C, Baron E, Mic D, Grimont F, Ryan M, Aavitsland P, Legros D. 2004. Case management of a multidrug-resistant Shigella dysenteriae serotype 1 outbreak in a crisis context in Sierra Leone, 1999-2000. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 98 (11), pp. 635-643. | Show Abstract | Read more

From December 1999 to the end of February 2000, 4218 cases of dysentery were reported in Kenema district, southeastern Sierra Leone, by a Médecins Sans Frontières team operating in this region. Shigella dysenteriae serotype 1 was isolated from the early cases. The overall attack rate was 7.5% but higher among children under 5 years (11.2%) compared to the rest of the population (6.8%) (RR = 1.6; 95% CI 1.5-1.8). The case fatality ratio was 3.1%, and higher for children under 5 years (6.1% vs. 2.1%) (RR = 2.9; 95% CI 2.1-4.1). A case management strategy based on stratification of affected cases was chosen in this resource-poor setting. Patients considered at higher risk of death were treated with a 5 day ciprofloxacin regimen in isolation centres. Five hundred and eighty-three cases were treated with a case fatality ratio of 0.9%. Patients who did not have signs of severity when seen by health workers were given hygiene advice and oral rehydration salts. This strategy was effective in this complex emergency.

Eriksen HM, Guerin PJ, Nygård K, Hjertqvist M, de Jong B, Rose AM, Kuusi M, Durr U, Rojas AG, Mør C, Aavitsland P. 2004. Gastro-enteritis outbreak among Nordic patients with psoriasis in a health centre in Gran Canaria, Spain: a cohort study. BMC Infect Dis, 4 pp. 45. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Between November 2 and 10, 2002 several patients with psoriasis and personnel staying in the health centre in Gran Canaria, Spain fell ill with diarrhoea, vomiting or both. Patient original came from Norway, Sweden and Finland. The patient group was scheduled to stay until 8 November. A new group of patients were due to arrive from 7 November. METHODS: A retrospective cohort study was conducted to assess the extent of the outbreak, to identify the source and mode of transmission and to prevent similar problems in the following group. RESULTS: Altogether 41% (48/116) of persons staying at the centre fell ill. Norovirus infection was suspected based on clinical presentations and the fact that no bacteria were identified. Kaplan criteria were met. Five persons in this outbreak were hospitalised and the mean duration of diarrhoea was 3 days. The consequences of the illness were more severe compared to many other norovirus outbreaks, possibly because many of the cases suffered from chronic diseases and were treated with drugs reported to affect the immunity (methotrexate or steroids). During the two first days of the outbreak, the attack rate was higher in residents who had consumed dried fruit (adjusted RR = 3.1; 95% CI: 1.4-7.1) and strawberry jam (adjusted RR = 1.9; 95% CI: 0.9-4.1) than those who did not. In the following days, no association was found. The investigation suggests two modes of transmission: a common source for those who fell ill during the two first days of the outbreak and thereafter mainly person to person transmission. This is supported by a lower risk associated with the two food items at the end of the outbreak. CONCLUSIONS: We believe that the food items were contaminated by foodhandlers who reported sick before the outbreak started. Control measures were successfully implemented; food buffets were banned, strict hygiene measures were implemented and sick personnel stayed at home >48 hours after last symptoms.

Guerin PJ, De Jong B, Heir E, Hasseltvedt V, Kapperud G, Styrmo K, Gondrosen B, Lassen J, Andersson Y, Aavitsland P. 2004. Outbreak of Salmonella Livingstone infection in Norway and Sweden due to contaminated processed fish products. Epidemiol Infect, 132 (5), pp. 889-895. | Show Abstract | Read more

In Europe, the number of reported sporadic human cases of Salmonella Livingstone infection is low, and outbreaks are rare. We report the largest S. Livingstone outbreak described in the literature having an identified source of infection. In February 2001, an increased incidence of infection caused by S. Livingstone was observed in Norway and Sweden. By July 2001, 44 cases were notified in Norway and 16 in Sweden. The median age was 63 years, and 40 were women. There were three deaths, and 22 patients were hospitalized. Based on standardized questionnaires and retrospective studies of S. Livingstone strains in Norway and Sweden, food items with egg powder were suspected, and S. Livingstone was subsequently recovered from a processed fish product at the retail level. Analysis by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis documented that isolates from the fish product belonged to the same clone as the outbreak strain.

Nygård K, de Jong B, Guerin PJ, Andersson Y, Olsson A, Giesecke J. 2004. Emergence of new Salmonella Enteritidis phage types in Europe? Surveillance of infections in returning travellers. BMC Med, 2 pp. 32. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Among human Salmonella Enteritidis infections, phage type 4 has been the dominant phage type in most countries in Western Europe during the last years. This is reflected in Salmonella infections among Swedish travellers returning from abroad. However, there are differences in phage type distribution between the countries, and this has also changed over time. METHODS: We used data from the Swedish infectious disease register and the national reference laboratory to describe phage type distribution of Salmonella Enteritidis infections in Swedish travellers from 1997 to 2002, and have compared this with national studies conducted in the countries visited. RESULTS: Infections among Swedish travellers correlate well with national studies conducted in the countries visited. In 2001 a change in phage type distribution in S. Enteritidis infections among Swedish travellers returning from some countries in southern Europe was observed, and a previously rare phage type (PT 14b) became one of the most commonly diagnosed that year, continuing into 2002 and 2003. CONCLUSIONS: Surveillance of infections among returning travellers can be helpful in detecting emerging infections and outbreaks in tourist destinations. The information needs to be communicated rapidly to all affected countries in order to expedite the implementation of appropriate investigations and preventive measures.

Ansaruzzaman M, Bhuiyan NA, Nair BG, Sack DA, Lucas M, Deen JL, Ampuero J, Chaignat CL, Mozambique Cholera vaccine Demonstration Project Coordination Group. 2004. Cholera in Mozambique, variant of Vibrio cholerae. Emerg Infect Dis, 10 (11), pp. 2057-2059. | Read more

Nygård K, de Jong B, Guerin PJ, Andersson Y, Olsson A, Giesecke J. 2004. Emergence of new Salmonella Enteritidis phage types in Europe? Surveillance of infections in returning travellers. BMC medicine, 2 | Show Abstract

Among human Salmonella Enteritidis infections, phage type 4 has been the dominant phage type in most countries in Western Europe during the last years. This is reflected in Salmonella infections among Swedish travellers returning from abroad. However, there are differences in phage type distribution between the countries, and this has also changed over time. We used data from the Swedish infectious disease register and the national reference laboratory to describe phage type distribution of Salmonella Enteritidis infections in Swedish travellers from 1997 to 2002, and have compared this with national studies conducted in the countries visited. Infections among Swedish travellers correlate well with national studies conducted in the countries visited. In 2001 a change in phage type distribution in S. Enteritidis infections among Swedish travellers returning from some countries in southern Europe was observed, and a previously rare phage type (PT 14b) became one of the most commonly diagnosed that year, continuing into 2002 and 2003. Surveillance of infections among returning travellers can be helpful in detecting emerging infections and outbreaks in tourist destinations. The information needs to be communicated rapidly to all affected countries in order to expedite the implementation of appropriate investigations and preventive measures.

Guerin PJ, Brasher C, Baron E, Mic D, Grimont F, Ryan M, Aavitsland P, Legros D. 2003. Shigella dysenteriae serotype 1 in west Africa: intervention strategy for an outbreak in Sierra Leone. Lancet, 362 (9385), pp. 705-706. | Show Abstract | Read more

In November 1999, a Médecins Sans Frontières team based in the southeastern part of Sierra Leone reported an increased number of cases of bloody diarrhoea. Shigella dysenteriae serotype 1 (Sd1) was isolated in the early cases. A total of 4218 cases of dysentery were reported in Kenema district from December, 1999, to March, 2000. The overall attack rate was 7.5%. The attack rate was higher among children younger than 5 years than in the rest of the population (11.2% vs 6.8%; relative risk=1.6; 95% CI 1.5-1.8). The case fatality was 3.1%, also higher for children younger than 5 years (6.1% vs 2.1%; relative risk=2.9; 95% CI 2.1-4.1]). Among 583 patients regarded at increased risk of death who were treated with ciprofloxacin in isolation centres, case fatality was 0.9%. A 5-day ciprofloxacin regimen, targeted to the most severe cases of bloody diarrhoea, was highly effective. This is the first time a large outbreak caused by Sd1 has been reported in west Africa.

Fretheim A, Guerin PJ. 2002. [Drugs against the neglected diseases]. Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen, 122 (28), pp. 2691.

Guerin PJ, Olliaro P, Nosten F, Druilhe P, Laxminarayan R, Binka F, Kilama WL, Ford N, White NJ. 2002. Malaria: current status of control, diagnosis, treatment, and a proposed agenda for research and development. Lancet Infect Dis, 2 (9), pp. 564-573. | Show Abstract | Read more

Rolling back malaria is possible. Tools are available but they are not used. Several countries deploy, as their national malaria control treatment policy, drugs that are no longer effective. New and innovative methods of vector control, diagnosis, and treatment should be developed, and work towards development of new drugs and a vaccine should receive much greater support. But the pressing need, in the face of increasing global mortality and general lack of progress in malaria control, is research into the best methods of deploying and using existing approaches, particularly insecticide-treated mosquito nets, rapid methods of diagnosis, and artemisinin-based combination treatments. Evidence on these approaches should provide national governments and international donors with the cost-benefit information that would justify much-needed increases in global support for appropriate and effective malaria control.

Guerin PJ, Olliaro P, Sundar S, Boelaert M, Croft SL, Desjeux P, Wasunna MK, Bryceson AD. 2002. Visceral leishmaniasis: current status of control, diagnosis, and treatment, and a proposed research and development agenda. Lancet Infect Dis, 2 (8), pp. 494-501. | Show Abstract | Read more

Visceral leishmaniasis is common in less developed countries, with an estimated 500000 new cases each year. Because of the diversity of epidemiological situations, no single diagnosis, treatment, or control will be suitable for all. Control measures through case finding, treatment, and vector control are seldom used, even where they could be useful. There is a place for a vaccine, and new imaginative approaches are needed. HIV co-infection is changing the epidemiology and presents problems for diagnosis and case management. Field diagnosis is difficult; simpler, less invasive tests are needed. Current treatments require long courses and parenteral administration, and most are expensive. Resistance is making the mainstay of treatment, agents based on pentavalent antimony, useless in northeastern India, where disease incidence is highest. Second-line drugs (pentamidine and amphotericin B) are limited by toxicity and availability, and newer formulations of amphotericin B are not affordable. The first effective oral drug, miltefosine, has been licensed in India, but the development of other drugs in clinical phases (paromomycin and sitamaquine) is slow. No novel compound is in the pipeline. Drug combinations must be developed to prevent drug resistance. Despite these urgent needs, research and development has been neglected, because a disease that mainly affects the poor ranks as a low priority in the private sector, and the public sector currently struggles to undertake the development of drugs and diagnostics in the absence of adequate funds and infrastructure. This article reviews the current situation and perspectives for diagnosis, treatment, and control of visceral leishmaniasis, and lists some priorities for research and development.

Guyant P, Corbel V, Guérin PJ, Lautissier A, Nosten F, Boyer S, Coosemans M, Dondorp AM, Sinou V, Yeung S, White N. 2015. Past and new challenges for malaria control and elimination: the role of operational research for innovation in designing interventions. Malar J, 14 pp. 279. | Show Abstract | Read more

This meeting report presents the outcomes of a workshop held in Bangkok on December 1st 2014, where the following challenges were discussed: the threat of resistance to artemisinin and artemisinin-based combination therapy in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) and in Africa; access to treatment for most at risk and hard to reach population; insecticide resistance, residual and outdoors transmission. The role of operational research and the interactions between research institutions, National Malaria Control Programmes, Civil Society Organizations, and of financial and technical partners to address those challenges and to accelerate translation of research into policies and programmes were debated. The threat and the emergency of the artemisinin resistance spread and independent emergence in the GMS was intensely debated as it is now close to the border of India. The need for key messages, based on scientific evidence and information available and disseminated without delay, was highlighted as crucial for an effective and urgent response.

WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN) AS-AQ Study Group, Adjuik MA, Allan R, Anvikar AR, Ashley EA, Ba MS, Barennes H, Barnes KI et al. 2015. The effect of dosing strategies on the therapeutic efficacy of artesunate-amodiaquine for uncomplicated malaria: a meta-analysis of individual patient data. BMC Med, 13 (1), pp. 66. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Artesunate-amodiaquine (AS-AQ) is one of the most widely used artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) to treat uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Africa. We investigated the impact of different dosing strategies on the efficacy of this combination for the treatment of falciparum malaria. METHODS: Individual patient data from AS-AQ clinical trials were pooled using the WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN) standardised methodology. Risk factors for treatment failure were identified using a Cox regression model with shared frailty across study sites. RESULTS: Forty-three studies representing 9,106 treatments from 1999-2012 were included in the analysis; 4,138 (45.4%) treatments were with a fixed dose combination with an AQ target dose of 30 mg/kg (FDC), 1,293 (14.2%) with a non-fixed dose combination with an AQ target dose of 25 mg/kg (loose NFDC-25), 2,418 (26.6%) with a non-fixed dose combination with an AQ target dose of 30 mg/kg (loose NFDC-30), and the remaining 1,257 (13.8%) with a co-blistered non-fixed dose combination with an AQ target dose of 30 mg/kg (co-blistered NFDC). The median dose of AQ administered was 32.1 mg/kg [IQR: 25.9-38.2], the highest dose being administered to patients treated with co-blistered NFDC (median = 35.3 mg/kg [IQR: 30.6-43.7]) and the lowest to those treated with loose NFDC-25 (median = 25.0 mg/kg [IQR: 22.7-25.0]). Patients treated with FDC received a median dose of 32.4 mg/kg [IQR: 27-39.0]. After adjusting for reinfections, the corrected antimalarial efficacy on day 28 after treatment was similar for co-blistered NFDC (97.9% [95% confidence interval (CI): 97.0-98.8%]) and FDC (98.1% [95% CI: 97.6%-98.5%]; P = 0.799), but significantly lower for the loose NFDC-25 (93.4% [95% CI: 91.9%-94.9%]), and loose NFDC-30 (95.0% [95% CI: 94.1%-95.9%]) (P < 0.001 for all comparisons). After controlling for age, AQ dose, baseline parasitemia and region; treatment with loose NFDC-25 was associated with a 3.5-fold greater risk of recrudescence by day 28 (adjusted hazard ratio, AHR = 3.51 [95% CI: 2.02-6.12], P < 0.001) compared to FDC, and treatment with loose NFDC-30 was associated with a higher risk of recrudescence at only three sites. CONCLUSIONS: There was substantial variation in the total dose of amodiaquine administered in different AS-AQ combination regimens. Fixed dose AS-AQ combinations ensure optimal dosing and provide higher antimalarial treatment efficacy than the loose individual tablets in all age categories.

Tun KM, Imwong M, Lwin KM, Win AA, Hlaing TM, Hlaing T, Lin K, Kyaw MP et al. 2015. Spread of artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum in Myanmar: a cross-sectional survey of the K13 molecular marker. Lancet Infect Dis, 15 (4), pp. 415-421. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Emergence of artemisinin resistance in southeast Asia poses a serious threat to the global control of Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Discovery of the K13 marker has transformed approaches to the monitoring of artemisinin resistance, allowing introduction of molecular surveillance in remote areas through analysis of DNA. We aimed to assess the spread of artemisinin-resistant P falciparum in Myanmar by determining the relative prevalence of P falciparum parasites carrying K13-propeller mutations. METHODS: We did this cross-sectional survey at malaria treatment centres at 55 sites in ten administrative regions in Myanmar, and in relevant border regions in Thailand and Bangladesh, between January, 2013, and September, 2014. K13 sequences from P falciparum infections were obtained mainly by passive case detection. We entered data into two geostatistical models to produce predictive maps of the estimated prevalence of mutations of the K13 propeller region across Myanmar. FINDINGS: Overall, 371 (39%) of 940 samples carried a K13-propeller mutation. We recorded 26 different mutations, including nine mutations not described previously in southeast Asia. In seven (70%) of the ten administrative regions of Myanmar, the combined K13-mutation prevalence was more than 20%. Geospatial mapping showed that the overall prevalence of K13 mutations exceeded 10% in much of the east and north of the country. In Homalin, Sagaing Region, 25 km from the Indian border, 21 (47%) of 45 parasite samples carried K13-propeller mutations. INTERPRETATION: Artemisinin resistance extends across much of Myanmar. We recorded P falciparum parasites carrying K13-propeller mutations at high prevalence next to the northwestern border with India. Appropriate therapeutic regimens should be tested urgently and implemented comprehensively if spread of artemisinin resistance to other regions is to be avoided. FUNDING: Wellcome Trust-Mahidol University-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Programme and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Newton PN, Schellenberg D, Ashley EA, Ravinetto R, Green MD, ter Kuile FO, Tabernero P, White NJ, Guerin PJ. 2015. Quality assurance of drugs used in clinical trials: proposal for adapting guidelines. BMJ, 350 (feb25 10), pp. h602. | Read more

Ashley EA, Dhorda M, Fairhurst RM, Amaratunga C, Lim P, Suon S, Sreng S, Anderson JM et al. 2014. Spread of artemisinin resistance in Plasmodium falciparum malaria. N Engl J Med, 371 (5), pp. 411-423. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Artemisinin resistance in Plasmodium falciparum has emerged in Southeast Asia and now poses a threat to the control and elimination of malaria. Mapping the geographic extent of resistance is essential for planning containment and elimination strategies. METHODS: Between May 2011 and April 2013, we enrolled 1241 adults and children with acute, uncomplicated falciparum malaria in an open-label trial at 15 sites in 10 countries (7 in Asia and 3 in Africa). Patients received artesunate, administered orally at a daily dose of either 2 mg per kilogram of body weight per day or 4 mg per kilogram, for 3 days, followed by a standard 3-day course of artemisinin-based combination therapy. Parasite counts in peripheral-blood samples were measured every 6 hours, and the parasite clearance half-lives were determined. RESULTS: The median parasite clearance half-lives ranged from 1.9 hours in the Democratic Republic of Congo to 7.0 hours at the Thailand-Cambodia border. Slowly clearing infections (parasite clearance half-life >5 hours), strongly associated with single point mutations in the "propeller" region of the P. falciparum kelch protein gene on chromosome 13 (kelch13), were detected throughout mainland Southeast Asia from southern Vietnam to central Myanmar. The incidence of pretreatment and post-treatment gametocytemia was higher among patients with slow parasite clearance, suggesting greater potential for transmission. In western Cambodia, where artemisinin-based combination therapies are failing, the 6-day course of antimalarial therapy was associated with a cure rate of 97.7% (95% confidence interval, 90.9 to 99.4) at 42 days. CONCLUSIONS: Artemisinin resistance to P. falciparum, which is now prevalent across mainland Southeast Asia, is associated with mutations in kelch13. Prolonged courses of artemisinin-based combination therapies are currently efficacious in areas where standard 3-day treatments are failing. (Funded by the U.K. Department of International Development and others; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01350856.).

Venkatesan M, Gadalla NB, Stepniewska K, Dahal P, Nsanzabana C, Moriera C, Price RN, Mårtensson A et al. 2014. Polymorphisms in Plasmodium falciparum chloroquine resistance transporter and multidrug resistance 1 genes: parasite risk factors that affect treatment outcomes for P. falciparum malaria after artemether-lumefantrine and artesunate-amodiaquine. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 91 (4), pp. 833-843. | Show Abstract | Read more

Adequate clinical and parasitologic cure by artemisinin combination therapies relies on the artemisinin component and the partner drug. Polymorphisms in the Plasmodium falciparum chloroquine resistance transporter (pfcrt) and P. falciparum multidrug resistance 1 (pfmdr1) genes are associated with decreased sensitivity to amodiaquine and lumefantrine, but effects of these polymorphisms on therapeutic responses to artesunate-amodiaquine (ASAQ) and artemether-lumefantrine (AL) have not been clearly defined. Individual patient data from 31 clinical trials were harmonized and pooled by using standardized methods from the WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network. Data for more than 7,000 patients were analyzed to assess relationships between parasite polymorphisms in pfcrt and pfmdr1 and clinically relevant outcomes after treatment with AL or ASAQ. Presence of the pfmdr1 gene N86 (adjusted hazards ratio = 4.74, 95% confidence interval = 2.29 - 9.78, P < 0.001) and increased pfmdr1 copy number (adjusted hazards ratio = 6.52, 95% confidence interval = 2.36-17.97, P < 0.001 : were significant independent risk factors for recrudescence in patients treated with AL. AL and ASAQ exerted opposing selective effects on single-nucleotide polymorphisms in pfcrt and pfmdr1. Monitoring selection and responding to emerging signs of drug resistance are critical tools for preserving efficacy of artemisinin combination therapies; determination of the prevalence of at least pfcrt K76T and pfmdr1 N86Y should now be routine.

Lourens C, Lindegardh N, Barnes KI, Guerin PJ, Sibley CH, White NJ, Tarning J. 2014. Benefits of a pharmacology antimalarial reference standard and proficiency testing program provided by the Worldwide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN). Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 58 (7), pp. 3889-3894. | Show Abstract | Read more

Comprehensive assessment of antimalarial drug resistance should include measurements of antimalarial blood or plasma concentrations in clinical trials and in individual assessments of treatment failure so that true resistance can be differentiated from inadequate drug exposure. Pharmacometric modeling is necessary to assess pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic relationships in different populations to optimize dosing. To accomplish both effectively and to allow comparison of data from different laboratories, it is essential that drug concentration measurement is accurate. Proficiency testing (PT) of laboratory procedures is necessary for verification of assay results. Within the Worldwide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN), the goal of the quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) program is to facilitate and sustain high-quality antimalarial assays. The QA/QC program consists of an international PT program for pharmacology laboratories and a reference material (RM) program for the provision of antimalarial drug standards, metabolites, and internal standards for laboratory use. The RM program currently distributes accurately weighed quantities of antimalarial drug standards, metabolites, and internal standards to 44 pharmacology, in vitro, and drug quality testing laboratories. The pharmacology PT program has sent samples to eight laboratories in four rounds of testing. WWARN technical experts have provided advice for correcting identified problems to improve performance of subsequent analysis and ultimately improved the quality of data. Many participants have demonstrated substantial improvements over subsequent rounds of PT. The WWARN QA/QC program has improved the quality and value of antimalarial drug measurement in laboratories globally. It is a model that has potential to be applied to strengthening laboratories more widely and improving the therapeutics of other infectious diseases.

Tabernero P, Fernández FM, Green M, Guerin PJ, Newton PN. 2014. Mind the gaps--the epidemiology of poor-quality anti-malarials in the malarious world--analysis of the WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network database. Malar J, 13 (1), pp. 139. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Poor quality medicines threaten the lives of millions of patients and are alarmingly common in many parts of the world. Nevertheless, the global extent of the problem remains unknown. Accurate estimates of the epidemiology of poor quality medicines are sparse and are influenced by sampling methodology and diverse chemical analysis techniques. In order to understand the existing data, the Antimalarial Quality Scientific Group at WWARN built a comprehensive, open-access, global database and linked Antimalarial Quality Surveyor, an online visualization tool. Analysis of the database is described here, the limitations of the studies and data reported, and their public health implications discussed. METHODS: The database collates customized summaries of 251 published anti-malarial quality reports in English, French and Spanish by time and location since 1946. It also includes information on assays to determine quality, sampling and medicine regulation. RESULTS: No publicly available reports for 60.6% (63) of the 104 malaria-endemic countries were found. Out of 9,348 anti-malarials sampled, 30.1% (2,813) failed chemical/packaging quality tests with 39.3% classified as falsified, 2.3% as substandard and 58.3% as poor quality without evidence available to categorize them as either substandard or falsified. Only 32.3% of the reports explicitly described their definitions of medicine quality and just 9.1% (855) of the samples collected in 4.6% (six) surveys were conducted using random sampling techniques. Packaging analysis was only described in 21.5% of publications and up to twenty wrong active ingredients were found in falsified anti-malarials. CONCLUSIONS: There are severe neglected problems with anti-malarial quality but there are important caveats to accurately estimate the prevalence and distribution of poor quality anti-malarials. The lack of reports in many malaria-endemic areas, inadequate sampling techniques and inadequate chemical analytical methods and instrumental procedures emphasizes the need to interpret medicine quality results with caution. The available evidence demonstrates the need for more investment to improve both sampling and analytical methodology and to achieve consensus in defining different types of poor quality medicines.

Taylor AR, Flegg JA, Nsobya SL, Yeka A, Kamya MR, Rosenthal PJ, Dorsey G, Sibley CH, Guerin PJ, Holmes CC. 2014. Estimation of malaria haplotype and genotype frequencies: a statistical approach to overcome the challenge associated with multiclonal infections. Malar J, 13 (1), pp. 102. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Reliable measures of anti-malarial resistance are crucial for malaria control. Resistance is typically a complex trait: multiple mutations in a single parasite (a haplotype or genotype) are necessary for elaboration of the resistant phenotype. The frequency of a genetic motif (proportion of parasite clones in the parasite population that carry a given allele, haplotype or genotype) is a useful measure of resistance. In areas of high endemicity, malaria patients generally harbour multiple parasite clones; they have multiplicities of infection (MOIs) greater than one. However, most standard experimental procedures only allow measurement of marker prevalence (proportion of patient blood samples that test positive for a given mutation or combination of mutations), not frequency. It is misleading to compare marker prevalence between sites that have different mean MOIs; frequencies are required instead. METHODS: A Bayesian statistical model was developed to estimate Plasmodium falciparum genetic motif frequencies from prevalence data collected in the field. To assess model performance and computational speed, a detailed simulation study was implemented. Application of the model was tested using datasets from five sites in Uganda. The datasets included prevalence data on markers of resistance to sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine and an average MOI estimate for each study site. RESULTS: The simulation study revealed that the genetic motif frequencies that were estimated using the model were more accurate and precise than conventional estimates based on direct counting. Importantly, the model did not require measurements of the MOI in each patient; it used the average MOI in the patient population. Furthermore, if a dataset included partially genotyped patient blood samples, the model imputed the data that were missing. Using the model and the Ugandan data, genotype frequencies were estimated and four biologically relevant genotypes were identified. CONCLUSIONS: The model allows fast, accurate, reliable estimation of the frequency of genetic motifs associated with resistance to anti-malarials using prevalence data collected from malaria patients. The model does not require per-patient MOI measurements and can easily analyse data from five markers. The model will be a valuable tool for monitoring markers of anti-malarial drug resistance, including markers of resistance to artemisinin derivatives and partner drugs.

Cited:

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Scopus

Achan J, Adam I, Arinaitwe E, Ashley EA, Awab GR, Ba MS, Barnes KI, Bassat Q et al. 2013. The Effect of Dosing Regimens on the Antimalarial Efficacy of Dihydroartemisinin-Piperaquine: A Pooled Analysis of Individual Patient Data PLOS MEDICINE, 10 (12), pp. e1001564-e1001564. | Show Abstract | Read more

Background:Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DP) is increasingly recommended for antimalarial treatment in many endemic countries; however, concerns have been raised over its potential under dosing in young children. We investigated the influence of different dosing schedules on DP's clinical efficacy.Methods and Findings:A systematic search of the literature was conducted to identify all studies published between 1960 and February 2013, in which patients were enrolled and treated with DP. Principal investigators were approached and invited to share individual patient data with the WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN). Data were pooled using a standardised methodology. Univariable and multivariable risk factors for parasite recrudescence were identified using a Cox's regression model with shared frailty across the study sites. Twenty-four published and two unpublished studies (n = 7,072 patients) were included in the analysis. After correcting for reinfection by parasite genotyping, Kaplan-Meier survival estimates were 97.7% (95% CI 97.3%-98.1%) at day 42 and 97.2% (95% CI 96.7%-97.7%) at day 63. Overall 28.6% (979/3,429) of children aged 1 to 5 years received a total dose of piperaquine below 48 mg/kg (the lower limit recommended by WHO); this risk was 2.3-2.9-fold greater compared to that in the other age groups and was associated with reduced efficacy at day 63 (94.4% [95% CI 92.6%-96.2%], p<0.001). After adjusting for confounding factors, the mg/kg dose of piperaquine was found to be a significant predictor for recrudescence, the risk increasing by 13% (95% CI 5.0%-21%) for every 5 mg/kg decrease in dose; p = 0.002. In a multivariable model increasing the target minimum total dose of piperaquine in children aged 1 to 5 years old from 48 mg/kg to 59 mg/kg would halve the risk of treatment failure and cure at least 95% of patients; such an increment was not associated with gastrointestinal toxicity in the ten studies in which this could be assessed.Conclusions:DP demonstrates excellent efficacy in a wide range of transmission settings; however, treatment failure is associated with a lower dose of piperaquine, particularly in young children, suggesting potential for further dose optimisation.Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary. © 2013 Price et al.

Flegg JA, Guérin PJ, Nosten F, Ashley EA, Phyo AP, Dondorp AM, Fairhurst RM, Socheat D et al. 2013. Optimal sampling designs for estimation of Plasmodium falciparum clearance rates in patients treated with artemisinin derivatives. Malar J, 12 (1), pp. 411. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The emergence of Plasmodium falciparum resistance to artemisinins in Southeast Asia threatens the control of malaria worldwide. The pharmacodynamic hallmark of artemisinin derivatives is rapid parasite clearance (a short parasite half-life), therefore, the in vivo phenotype of slow clearance defines the reduced susceptibility to the drug. Measurement of parasite counts every six hours during the first three days after treatment have been recommended to measure the parasite clearance half-life, but it remains unclear whether simpler sampling intervals and frequencies might also be sufficient to reliably estimate this parameter. METHODS: A total of 2,746 parasite density-time profiles were selected from 13 clinical trials in Thailand, Cambodia, Mali, Vietnam, and Kenya. In these studies, parasite densities were measured every six hours until negative after treatment with an artemisinin derivative (alone or in combination with a partner drug). The WWARN Parasite Clearance Estimator (PCE) tool was used to estimate "reference" half-lives from these six-hourly measurements. The effect of four alternative sampling schedules on half-life estimation was investigated, and compared to the reference half-life (time zero, 6, 12, 24 (A1); zero, 6, 18, 24 (A2); zero, 12, 18, 24 (A3) or zero, 12, 24 (A4) hours and then every 12 hours). Statistical bootstrap methods were used to estimate the sampling distribution of half-lives for parasite populations with different geometric mean half-lives. A simulation study was performed to investigate a suite of 16 potential alternative schedules and half-life estimates generated by each of the schedules were compared to the "true" half-life. The candidate schedules in the simulation study included (among others) six-hourly sampling, schedule A1, schedule A4, and a convenience sampling schedule at six, seven, 24, 25, 48 and 49 hours. RESULTS: The median (range) parasite half-life for all clinical studies combined was 3.1 (0.7-12.9) hours. Schedule A1 consistently performed the best, and schedule A4 the worst, both for the individual patient estimates and for the populations generated with the bootstrapping algorithm. In both cases, the differences between the reference and alternative schedules decreased as half-life increased. In the simulation study, 24-hourly sampling performed the worst, and six-hourly sampling the best. The simulation study confirmed that more dense parasite sampling schedules are required to accurately estimate half-life for profiles with short half-life (≤ three hours) and/or low initial parasite density (≤ 10,000 per μL). Among schedules in the simulation study with six or fewer measurements in the first 48 hours, a schedule with measurements at times (time windows) of 0 (0-2), 6 (4-8), 12 (10-14), 24 (22-26), 36 (34-36) and 48 (46-50) hours, or at times 6, 7 (two samples in time window 5-8), 24, 25 (two samples during time 23-26), and 48, 49 (two samples during time 47-50) hours, until negative most accurately estimated the "true" half-life. For a given schedule, continuing sampling after two days had little effect on the estimation of half-life, provided that adequate sampling was performed in the first two days and the half-life was less than three hours. If the measured parasitaemia at two days exceeded 1,000 per μL, continued sampling for at least once a day was needed for accurate half-life estimates. CONCLUSIONS: This study has revealed important insights on sampling schedules for accurate and reliable estimation of Plasmodium falciparum half-life following treatment with an artemisinin derivative (alone or in combination with a partner drug). Accurate measurement of short half-lives (rapid clearance) requires more dense sampling schedules (with more than twice daily sampling). A more intensive sampling schedule is, therefore, recommended in locations where P. falciparum susceptibility to artemisinins is not known and the necessary resources are available. Counting parasite density at six hours is important, and less frequent sampling is satisfactory for estimating long parasite half-lives in areas where artemisinin resistance is present.

Flegg JA, Metcalf CJ, Gharbi M, Venkatesan M, Shewchuk T, Hopkins Sibley C, Guerin PJ. 2013. Trends in antimalarial drug use in Africa. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 89 (5), pp. 857-865. | Show Abstract | Read more

Resistance to chloroquine (CQ) and sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) led the World Health Organization (WHO) to recommend changes in national drug policies. The time between policy changes and their implementation profoundly affects program impact. We developed a model based on data on antimalarial treatments, extracted from household surveys and national antimalarial policy information from the literature. Drug use in each country during the time period 1999-2011 and the trend in reduction of CQ use after policy change were estimated. The SP use estimates were correlated with the prevalence of a molecular marker associated with SP resistance. There was no spatial pattern in the country-level rate of reduction of CQ use, after policy change. In East Africa SP drug use was strongly correlated to resistance. If artemisinin resistance spreads to, or emerges in, Africa this methodology will be a valuable tool to estimate actual drug use and its impact on changes in drug efficacy.

Schramm B, Valeh P, Baudin E, Mazinda CS, Smith R, Pinoges L, Dhorda M, Boum Y et al. 2013. Efficacy of artesunate-amodiaquine and artemether-lumefantrine fixed-dose combinations for the treatment of uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria among children aged six to 59 months in Nimba County, Liberia: an open-label randomized non-inferiority trial. Malar J, 12 (1), pp. 251. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Prospective efficacy monitoring of anti-malarial treatments is imperative for timely detection of resistance development. The in vivo efficacy of artesunate-amodiaquine (ASAQ) fixed-dose combination (FDC) was compared to that of artemether-lumefantrine (AL) among children aged six to 59 months in Nimba County, Liberia, where Plasmodium falciparum malaria is endemic and efficacy data are scarce. METHODS: An open-label, randomized controlled non-inferiority trial compared the genotyping adjusted day 42 cure rates of ASAQ FDC (ASAQ Winthrop®) to AL (Coartem®) in 300 children aged six to 59 months with uncomplicated falciparum malaria. Inclusion was between December 2008 and May 2009. Randomization (1:1) was to a three-day observed oral regimen (ASAQ: once a day; AL: twice a day, given with fatty food). Day 7 desethylamodiaquine and lumefantrine blood-concentrations were also measured. RESULTS: The day 42 genotyping-adjusted cure rate estimates were 97.3% [95% CI: 91.6-99.1] for ASAQ and 94.2% [88.1-97.2] for AL (Kaplan-Meier survival estimates). The difference in day 42 cure rates was -3.1% [upper limit 95% CI: 1.2%]. These results were confirmed by observed proportion of patients cured at day 42 on the per-protocol population. Parasite clearance was 100% (ASAQ) and 99.3% (AL) on day 3. The probability to remain free of re-infection was 0.55 [95% CI: 0.46-0.63] (ASAQ) and 0.66 [0.57-0.73] (AL) (p = 0.017). CONCLUSIONS: Both ASAQ and AL were highly efficacious and ASAQ was non-inferior to AL. The proportion of patients with re-infection was high in both arms in this highly endemic setting. In 2010, ASAQ FDC was adopted as the first-line national treatment in Liberia. Continuous efficacy monitoring is recommended. TRIAL REGISTRATION: The protocols were registered with Current Controlled Trials, under the identifier numbers ISRCTN51688713, ISRCTN40020296.

Impact of biological markers on antimalarial treatment outcomes

The Worldwide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN) is seeking a doctoral candidate to study and model the impact of biological markers and genotyping methods on treatment outcome in clinical trials assessing the efficacy of antimalarials. The project will be supervised by Dr Christian Nsanzabana, Professor Philippe Guerin and Professor Richard Price. The student will be based in Oxford, joining a dynamic team at the Centre for Tropical Medicine and Global Health to identify the key ...

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