register interest

Professor Richard Price

Research Area: Global Health
Technology Exchange: Bioinformatics and Medical statistics
Scientific Themes: Tropical Medicine & Global Health and Immunology & Infectious Disease
Keywords: malaria, epidemiology, drug resistance and clinical trials
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The main focus of our research programme is to improve the diagnosis and management of multidrug resistant malaria through an agenda that spans clinical trials, epidemiology, health economics, pathophysiology, in vitro studies and molecular biology. To achieve this we are:

  • defining the burden of vivax malaria in South East Asia with particularly attention to areas where chloroquine resistance is emerging,
  • conducting clinical studies to optimise the safe and effective radical cure of vivax malaria,
  • developing ex vivo tools to improve the surveillance and characterisation of drug resistance in P. vivax,
  • evaluating the impact and cost effectiveness of widespread deployment of artemisinin combination therapies on malaria related morbidity and mortality.

The programme is being conducted in collaboration with the Mahidol Oxford Research Unit (MORU) in Thailand and the Menzies School of Health Research (MSHR) in Darwin. Together we have recently embarked upon a large leading multicentred clinical trial in more than seven malaria endemic countries to compare different primaquine regimens for the radical cure of vivax malaria. I am head of the clinical module of the World Wide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN) and co-chair the Vivax Working Group of the Asia-Pacific Malaria Elimination Network (APMEN).

Current Projects:

  • Defining the morbidity and mortality of Plasmodium vivax.
  • Optimising the safe and effective radical cure of P. vivax
  • Investigating new strategies for the diagnosis and mapping of G6PD deficiency
  • Molecular characterisation of drug resistant malaria
  • In vitro drug susceptibility of Plasmodium: phenotypic characterisation and testing novel antimalarial compounds

Name Department Institution Country
Professor Nicholas J White FRS Tropical Medicine Oxford University, Bangkok Thailand
Professor Nicholas Anstey International Health Division, Menzies School of Health Research Australia
Professor François H Nosten Tropical Medicine Oxford University, Mae Sot Thailand
Dr Rini Poespoprodjo Papuan Health and Community Development Foundation, Timika, Papua Indonesia
Associate Professor Julie Simpson Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics Melbourne University Australia
Professor James McCarthy Malaria University of Queensland Australia
Professor Philippe J Guerin Tropical Medicine Oxford University, NDM Research Building United Kingdom
Professor John Adams University of South Florida United States
Professor J. Kevin Baird Tropical Medicine Oxford University, Jakarta Indonesia
Professor Nicholas PJ Day FMedSci FRCP Tropical Medicine Oxford University, Bangkok Thailand
Dr Yoel Lubell Tropical Medicine Oxford University, Bangkok Thailand
Dr Ghulam Rahim Awab Tropical Medicine University of Oxford United Kingdom
Dr Wasif Khan International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research Bangladesh
Dr Tobgay Drupka Ministry of Health Bhutan
Dr Lek Soley National Center for Parasitology Entomology and Malaria Control - CNM Cambodia
Dr Rick Fairhurst NIAID NIH United States
Professor Gao Qi Jiangsu Institute of Parasitic Diseases China
Dr Sisay Alemu Armauer Hansen Research Institute, Addis Ababa University Ethiopia
Dr Rintis Noviyanti Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology, Jakarta Indonesia
Professor Inge Sutanto Parasitology Faculty of Medicine, University of Indonesia, Jakarta Indonesia
Dr Ayodhia Pitaloka Pasaribu University of Sumatera Utara Indonesia
Dr Yagoob Hamedi Hormozgan University of Medical Sciences Iran
Dr Timothy William Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Kota Kinabalu Malaysia
Professor Frank Smithuis Tropical Medicine Oxford University, Yangon Myanmar
Dr Jung-Yeon Kim Malaria Control, Centers for Disease Control South Korea
Dr Muzamil Hamid University of Khartoum Sudan
Professor Tran T Hien Tropical Medicine Oxford University, Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam
Professor Dominic Kwiatkowski Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics Oxford University, Henry Wellcome Building of Genomic Medicine United Kingdom
Dr Zbynek Bozdech Biological Sciences Nanyang Technological University Singapore
Dr Gonzalo Domingo Path, Seattle United States
Dr Olivo Miotto Tropical Medicine Oxford University, Bangkok Thailand
Professor Christian Engwerda Queensland Institute of Medical Research Australia
Professor Dennis Kyle University of South Florida United States
Dr Brice Campo Medicines for Malaria Venture Switzerland
Dr Michael Bangs Malaria Control PT Freeport Indonesia, Timika Indonesia
Karyana M, Devine A, Kenangalem E, Burdarm L, Poespoprodjo JR, Vemuri R, Anstey NM, Tjitra E, Price RN, Yeung S. 2016. Treatment-seeking behaviour and associated costs for malaria in Papua, Indonesia. Malar J, 15 (1), pp. 536. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Malaria remains a significant public health issue in Eastern Indonesia, where multidrug resistant Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax are highly prevalent. The objective of this study was to describe treatment-seeking behaviour and household costs prior to a change to a unified treatment policy of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine in Mimika district, Papua province in 2006. METHODS: In 2005 a randomized cross-sectional household survey was conducted to collect data on demographics, socio-economic status (SES), treatment-seeking, case management, and household costs. Information on the cost of illness was also collected from patients exiting health facilities, in order to compare the cost of episodes diagnosed as P. vivax compared with those diagnosed as P. falciparum. RESULTS: 825 households were included in the survey. Of the 764 individuals who sought treatment for fever outside the home in the last month, 46% (349/764) went to a public health facility. Of the 894 reported visits to healthcare providers, 48% (433) resulted in a blood test, of which 78% (337) were reportedly positive. Only 10% (17/177) of individuals who reported testing positive for P. falciparum or mixed infection received the first-line treatment of chloroquine with SP, and 38% (61/159) of those with a diagnosis of P. vivax reportedly received the first-line treatment of chloroquine and primaquine. Overall, public facilities were more likely to prescribe the correct prevailing first-line drug combinations than private providers (OR = 3.77 [95% CI 2.31-6.14], p < 0.001). The mean cost to the household of an episode of P. vivax was similar to the cost of P. falciparum [US$44.50 (SD: 46.23) vs US$48.58 (SD: 64.65)]. CONCLUSIONS: Private providers were a popular source of treatment for malaria, but adherence to the national guidelines was low and the economic burden of malaria for both P. falciparum and P. vivax infections was substantial. Engagement with the private sector is needed to ensure that patients have access to affordable good quality, effective diagnostics and anti-malarials for both P. falciparum and P. vivax.

Montes de Oca M, Kumar R, Rivera FL, Amante FH, Sheel M, Faleiro RJ, Bunn PT, Best SE, Beattie L, Ng SS et al. 2016. Type I Interferons Regulate Immune Responses in Humans with Blood-Stage Plasmodium falciparum Infection. Cell Rep, 17 (2), pp. 399-412. | Show Abstract | Read more

The development of immunoregulatory networks is important to prevent disease. However, these same networks allow pathogens to persist and reduce vaccine efficacy. Here, we identify type I interferons (IFNs) as important regulators in developing anti-parasitic immunity in healthy volunteers infected for the first time with Plasmodium falciparum. Type I IFNs suppressed innate immune cell function and parasitic-specific CD4(+) T cell IFNγ production, and they promoted the development of parasitic-specific IL-10-producing Th1 (Tr1) cells. Type I IFN-dependent, parasite-specific IL-10 production was also observed in P. falciparum malaria patients in the field following chemoprophylaxis. Parasite-induced IL-10 suppressed inflammatory cytokine production, and IL-10 levels after drug treatment were positively associated with parasite burdens before anti-parasitic drug administration. These findings have important implications for understanding the development of host immune responses following blood-stage P. falciparum infection, and they identify type I IFNs and related signaling pathways as potential targets for therapies or vaccine efficacy improvement.

Le Bihan A, de Kanter R, Angulo-Barturen I, Binkert C, Boss C, Brun R, Brunner R, Buchmann S, Burrows J, Dechering KJ et al. 2016. Characterization of Novel Antimalarial Compound ACT-451840: Preclinical Assessment of Activity and Dose-Efficacy Modeling. PLoS Med, 13 (10), pp. e1002138. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Artemisinin resistance observed in Southeast Asia threatens the continued use of artemisinin-based combination therapy in endemic countries. Additionally, the diversity of chemical mode of action in the global portfolio of marketed antimalarials is extremely limited. Addressing the urgent need for the development of new antimalarials, a chemical class of potent antimalarial compounds with a novel mode of action was recently identified. Herein, the preclinical characterization of one of these compounds, ACT-451840, conducted in partnership with academic and industrial groups is presented. METHOD AND FINDINGS: The properties of ACT-451840 are described, including its spectrum of activities against multiple life cycle stages of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum (asexual and sexual) and Plasmodium vivax (asexual) as well as oral in vivo efficacies in two murine malaria models that permit infection with the human and the rodent parasites P. falciparum and Plasmodium berghei, respectively. In vitro, ACT-451840 showed a 50% inhibition concentration of 0.4 nM (standard deviation [SD]: ± 0.0 nM) against the drug-sensitive P. falciparum NF54 strain. The 90% effective doses in the in vivo efficacy models were 3.7 mg/kg against P. falciparum (95% confidence interval: 3.3-4.9 mg/kg) and 13 mg/kg against P. berghei (95% confidence interval: 11-16 mg/kg). ACT-451840 potently prevented male gamete formation from the gametocyte stage with a 50% inhibition concentration of 5.89 nM (SD: ± 1.80 nM) and dose-dependently blocked oocyst development in the mosquito with a 50% inhibitory concentration of 30 nM (range: 23-39). The compound's preclinical safety profile is presented and is in line with the published results of the first-in-man study in healthy male participants, in whom ACT-451840 was well tolerated. Pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) modeling was applied using efficacy in the murine models (defined either as antimalarial activity or as survival) in relation to area under the concentration versus time curve (AUC), maximum observed plasma concentration (Cmax), and time above a threshold concentration. The determination of the dose-efficacy relationship of ACT-451840 under curative conditions in rodent malaria models allowed prediction of the human efficacious exposure. CONCLUSION: The dual activity of ACT-451840 against asexual and sexual stages of P. falciparum and the activity on P. vivax have the potential to meet the specific profile of a target compound that could replace the fast-acting artemisinin component and harbor additional gametocytocidal activity and, thereby, transmission-blocking properties. The fast parasite reduction ratio (PRR) and gametocytocidal effect of ACT-451840 were recently also confirmed in a clinical proof-of-concept (POC) study.

Phillips MA, White KL, Kokkonda S, Deng X, White J, El Mazouni F, Marsh K, Tomchick DR, Manjalanagara K, Rudra KR et al. 2016. A Triazolopyrimidine-Based Dihydroorotate Dehydrogenase Inhibitor with Improved Drug-like Properties for Treatment and Prevention of Malaria. ACS Infect Dis, | Show Abstract | Read more

The emergence of drug-resistant malaria parasites continues to hamper efforts to control this lethal disease. Dihydroorotate dehydrogenase has recently been validated as a new target for the treatment of malaria, and a selective inhibitor (DSM265) of the Plasmodium enzyme is currently in clinical development. With the goal of identifying a backup compound to DSM265, we explored replacement of the SF5-aniline moiety of DSM265 with a series of CF3-pyridinyls while maintaining the core triazolopyrimidine scaffold. This effort led to the identification of DSM421, which has improved solubility, lower intrinsic clearance, and increased plasma exposure after oral dosing compared to DSM265, while maintaining a long predicted human half-life. Its improved physical and chemical properties will allow it to be formulated more readily than DSM265. DSM421 showed excellent efficacy in the SCID mouse model of P. falciparum malaria that supports the prediction of a low human dose (<200 mg). Importantly DSM421 showed equal activity against both P. falciparum and P. vivax field isolates, while DSM265 was more active on P. falciparum. DSM421 has the potential to be developed as a single-dose cure or once-weekly chemopreventative for both P. falciparum and P. vivax malaria, leading to its advancement as a preclinical development candidate.

Auburn S, Serre D, Pearson RD, Amato R, Sriprawat K, To S, Handayuni I, Suwanarusk R, Russell B, Drury E et al. 2016. Genomic Analysis Reveals a Common Breakpoint in Amplifications of the Plasmodium vivax Multidrug Resistance 1 Locus in Thailand. J Infect Dis, 214 (8), pp. 1235-1242. | Show Abstract | Read more

In regions of coendemicity for Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax where mefloquine is used to treat P. falciparum infection, drug pressure mediated by increased copy numbers of the multidrug resistance 1 gene (pvmdr1) may select for mefloquine-resistant P. vivax Surveillance is not undertaken routinely owing in part to methodological challenges in detection of gene amplification. Using genomic data on 88 P. vivax samples from western Thailand, we identified pvmdr1 amplification in 17 isolates, all exhibiting tandem copies of a 37.6-kilobase pair region with identical breakpoints. A novel breakpoint-specific polymerase chain reaction assay was designed to detect the amplification. The assay demonstrated high sensitivity, identifying amplifications in 13 additional, polyclonal infections. Application to 132 further samples identified the common breakpoint in all years tested (2003-2015), with a decline in prevalence after 2012 corresponding to local discontinuation of mefloquine regimens. Assessment of the structure of pvmdr1 amplification in other geographic regions will yield information about the population-specificity of the breakpoints and underlying amplification mechanisms.

Pearson RD, Amato R, Auburn S, Miotto O, Almagro-Garcia J, Amaratunga C, Suon S, Mao S, Noviyanti R, Trimarsanto H et al. 2016. Genomic analysis of local variation and recent evolution in Plasmodium vivax. Nat Genet, 48 (8), pp. 959-964. | Show Abstract | Read more

The widespread distribution and relapsing nature of Plasmodium vivax infection present major challenges for the elimination of malaria. To characterize the genetic diversity of this parasite in individual infections and across the population, we performed deep genome sequencing of >200 clinical samples collected across the Asia-Pacific region and analyzed data on >300,000 SNPs and nine regions of the genome with large copy number variations. Individual infections showed complex patterns of genetic structure, with variation not only in the number of dominant clones but also in their level of relatedness and inbreeding. At the population level, we observed strong signals of recent evolutionary selection both in known drug resistance genes and at new loci, and these varied markedly between geographical locations. These findings demonstrate a dynamic landscape of local evolutionary adaptation in the parasite population and provide a foundation for genomic surveillance to guide effective strategies for control and elimination of P. vivax.

Abdulla S, Achan J, Yeka A, D'Alessandro U, Adam I, Alemayehu BH, Allan R, Temu EA, Allen EN, Barnes KI 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.

Grigg MJ, William T, Menon J, Barber BE, Wilkes CS, Rajahram GS, Edstein MD, Auburn S, Price RN, Yeo TW, Anstey NM. 2016. Efficacy of Artesunate-mefloquine for Chloroquine-resistant Plasmodium vivax Malaria in Malaysia: An Open-label, Randomized, Controlled Trial. Clin Infect Dis, 62 (11), pp. 1403-1411. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Chloroquine (CQ)-resistant Plasmodium vivax is increasingly reported throughout southeast Asia. The efficacy of CQ and alternative artemisinin combination therapies (ACTs) for vivax malaria in Malaysia is unknown. METHODS: A randomized, controlled trial of CQ vs artesunate-mefloquine (AS-MQ) for uncomplicated vivax malaria was conducted in 3 district hospitals in Sabah, Malaysia. Primaquine was administered on day 28. The primary outcome was the cumulative risk of treatment failure by day 28 by Kaplan-Meier analysis. RESULTS: From 2012 to 2014, 103 adults and children were enrolled. Treatment failure by day 28 was 61.1% (95% confidence interval [CI], 46.8-75.6) after CQ and 0% (95% CI, 0-.08) following AS-MQ (P < .001), of which 8.2% (95% CI, 2.5-9.6) were early treatment failures. All patients with treatment failure had therapeutic plasma CQ concentrations at day 7. Compared with CQ, AS-MQ was associated with faster parasite clearance (normalized clearance slope, 0.311 vs 0.127; P < .001) and fever clearance (mean, 19.0 vs 37.7 hours; P =001) and with lower risk of anemia at day 28 (odds ratio = 3.7; 95% CI, 1.5-9.3; P =005). Gametocytes were present at day 28 in 23.8% (10/42) of patients following CQ vs none with AS-MQ (P < .001). AS-MQ resulted in lower bed occupancy: 4037 vs 6510 days/1000 patients (incidence rate ratio 0.62; 95% CI, .60-.65; P < .001). One patient developed severe anemia not regarded as related to their AS-MQ treatment. CONCLUSIONS: High-grade CQ-resistant P. vivax is prevalent in eastern Malaysia. AS-MQ is an efficacious ACT for all malaria species. Wider CQ-efficacy surveillance is needed in vivax-endemic regions with earlier replacement with ACT when treatment failure is detected.Clinical Trials Registration NCT01708876.

Hamedi Y, Sharifi-Sarasiabi K, Dehghan F, Safari R, To S, Handayuni I, Trimarsanto H, Price RN, Auburn S. 2016. Molecular Epidemiology of P. vivax in Iran: High Diversity and Complex Sub-Structure Using Neutral Markers, but No Evidence of Y976F Mutation at pvmdr1. PLoS One, 11 (11), pp. e0166124. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Malaria remains endemic at low levels in the south-eastern provinces of Iran bordering Afghanistan and Pakistan, with the majority of cases attributable to P. vivax. The national guidelines recommend chloroquine (CQ) as blood-stage treatment for uncomplicated P. vivax, but the large influx of imported cases enhances the risk of introducing CQ resistance (CQR). METHODOLOGY AND PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The genetic diversity at pvmdr1, a putative modulator of CQR, and across nine putatively neutral short tandem repeat (STR) markers were assessed in P. vivax clinical isolates collected between April 2007 and January 2013 in Hormozgan Province, south-eastern Iran. One hundred blood samples were collected from patients with microscopy-confirmed P. vivax enrolled at one of five district clinics. In total 73 (73%) were autochthonous cases, 23 (23%) imported cases from Afghanistan or Pakistan, and 4 (4%) with unknown origin. 97% (97/100) isolates carried the F1076L mutation, but none carried the Y976F mutation. STR genotyping was successful in 71 (71%) isolates, including 57(57%) autochthonous and 11 (11%) imported cases. Analysis of population structure revealed 2 major sub-populations, K1 and K2, with further sub-structure within K2. The K1 sub-population had markedly lower diversity than K2 (HE = 0.06 vs HE = 0.82) suggesting that the sub-populations were sustained by distinct reservoirs with differing transmission dynamics, possibly reflecting local versus imported/introduced populations. No notable separation was observed between the local and imported cases although the sample size was limited. CONCLUSIONS: The contrasting low versus high diversity in the two sub-populations (K1 and K2) infers that a combination of local transmission and cross-border malaria from higher transmission regions shape the genetic make-up of the P. vivax population in south-eastern Iran. There was no molecular evidence of CQR amongst the local or imported cases, but ongoing clinical surveillance is warranted.

Pava Z, Burdam FH, Handayuni I, Trianty L, Utami RA, Tirta YK, Kenangalem E, Lampah D, Kusuma A, Wirjanata G et al. 2016. Submicroscopic and Asymptomatic Plasmodium Parasitaemia Associated with Significant Risk of Anaemia in Papua, Indonesia. PLoS One, 11 (10), pp. e0165340. | Show Abstract | Read more

Submicroscopic Plasmodium infections are an important parasite reservoir, but their clinical relevance is poorly defined. A cross-sectional household survey was conducted in southern Papua, Indonesia, using cluster random sampling. Data were recorded using a standardized questionnaire. Blood samples were collected for haemoglobin measurement. Plasmodium parasitaemia was determined by blood film microscopy and PCR. Between April and July 2013, 800 households and 2,830 individuals were surveyed. Peripheral parasitaemia was detected in 37.7% (968/2,567) of individuals, 36.8% (357) of whom were identified by blood film examination. Overall the prevalence of P. falciparum parasitaemia was 15.4% (396/2567) and that of P. vivax 18.3% (471/2567). In parasitaemic individuals, submicroscopic infection was significantly more likely in adults (adjusted odds ratio (AOR): 3.82 [95%CI: 2.49-5.86], p<0.001) compared to children, females (AOR = 1.41 [1.07-1.86], p = 0.013), individuals not sleeping under a bednet (AOR = 1.4 [1.0-1.8], p = 0.035), and being afebrile (AOR = 3.2 [1.49-6.93], p = 0.003). The risk of anaemia (according to WHO guidelines) was 32.8% and significantly increased in those with asymptomatic parasitaemia (AOR 2.9 [95% 2.1-4.0], p = 0.007), and submicroscopic P. falciparum infections (AOR 2.5 [95% 1.7-3.6], p = 0.002). Asymptomatic and submicroscopic infections in this area co-endemic for P. falciparum and P. vivax constitute two thirds of detectable parasitaemia and are associated with a high risk of anaemia. Novel public health strategies are needed to detect and eliminate these parasite reservoirs, for the benefit both of the patient and the community.

Burdam FH, Hakimi M, Thio F, Kenangalem E, Indrawanti R, Noviyanti R, Trianty L, Marfurt J, Handayuni I, Soenarto Y et al. 2016. Asymptomatic Vivax and Falciparum Parasitaemia with Helminth Co-Infection: Major Risk Factors for Anaemia in Early Life. PLoS One, 11 (8), pp. e0160917. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Anaemia in children under five years old is associated with poor health, growth and developmental outcomes. In Papua, Indonesia, where the burden of anaemia in infants is high, we conducted a community survey to assess the association between Plasmodium infection, helminth carriage and the risk of anaemia. METHODS: A cross sectional household survey was carried out between April and July 2013 in 16 villages in the District of Mimika using a multistage sampling procedure. A total of 629 children aged 1-59 months from 800 households were included in the study. Demographic, symptom and anthropometry data were recorded using a standardized questionnaire. Blood and stool samples were collected for examination. RESULTS: Of the 533 children with blood film examination, 8.8% (47) had P. vivax parasitaemia and 3.9% (21) had P. falciparum; the majority of children with malaria were asymptomatic (94.4%, 68/72). Soil transmitted helminth (STH) infection was present in 43% (105/269) of children assessed; those with STH were at significantly greater risk of P. vivax parasitaemia compared to those without STH (OR = 3.7 [95%CI 1.5-9.2], p = 0.004). Anaemia (Hb<10 g/dl) was present in 24.5% (122/497) of children and associated with P. vivax parasitaemia (OR = 2.9 [95%CI, 1.7-4.9], p = 0.001), P. falciparum parasitaemia (OR = 4.3 [95%CI, 2.0-9.4], p<0.001), hookworm carriage (OR = 2.6 [95%CI, 1.2-5.8], p = 0.026), Plasmodium-helminth coinfection (OR 4.0 [95%CI, 1.4-11.3], p = 0.008) and severe stunting (OR = 1.9 ([95%CI, 1.1-3.3], p = 0.012). CONCLUSIONS: Asymptomatic P. vivax and P. falciparum infections and hookworm all contribute to risk of paediatric anaemia in coendemic areas and should be targeted with prevention and treatment programs. The relationship between helminth infections and the increased risk of P. vivax parasitaemia should be explored prospectively.

Kho S, Marfurt J, Handayuni I, Pava Z, Noviyanti R, Kusuma A, Piera KA, Burdam FH, Kenangalem E, Lampah DA et al. 2016. Characterization of blood dendritic and regulatory T cells in asymptomatic adults with sub-microscopic Plasmodium falciparum or Plasmodium vivax infection. Malar J, 15 (1), pp. 328. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax infections compromise dendritic cell (DC) function and expand regulatory T (Treg) cells in both clinical disease (malaria) and experimental human sub-microscopic infection. Conversely, in asymptomatic microscopy-positive (patent) P. falciparum or P. vivax infection in endemic areas, blood DC increase or retain HLA-DR expression and Treg cells exhibit reduced activation, suggesting that DC and Treg cells contribute to the control of patent asymptomatic infection. The effect of sub-microscopic (sub-patent) asymptomatic Plasmodium infection on DC and Treg cells in malaria-endemic area residents remains unclear. METHODS: In a cross-sectional household survey conducted in Papua, Indonesia, 162 asymptomatic adults were prospectively evaluated for DC and Treg cells using field-based flow cytometry. Of these, 161 individuals (99 %) were assessed retrospectively by polymerase chain reaction (PCR), 19 of whom had sub-microscopic infection with P. falciparum and 15 with sub-microscopic P. vivax infection. Flow cytometric data were re-analysed after re-grouping asymptomatic individuals according to PCR results into negative controls, sub-microscopic and microscopic parasitaemia to examine DC and Treg cell phenotype in sub-microscopic infection. RESULTS: Asymptomatic adults with sub-microscopic P. falciparum or P. vivax infection had DC HLA-DR expression and Treg cell activation comparable to PCR-negative controls. Sub-microscopic P. falciparum infection was associated with lower peripheral CD4(+) T cells and lymphocytes, however sub-microscopic Plasmodium infection had no apparent effect on DC sub-set number or Treg cell frequency. CONCLUSIONS: In contrast to the impairment of DC maturation/function and the activation of Treg cells seen with sub-microscopic parasitaemia in primary experimental human Plasmodium infection, no phenotypic evidence of dysregulation of DC and Treg cells was observed in asymptomatic sub-microscopic Plasmodium infection in Indonesian adults. This is consistent with DC and Treg cells retaining their functional capacity in sub-microscopic asymptomatic infection with P. falciparum or P. vivax in malaria-endemic areas.

Kenangalem E, Karyana M, Burdarm L, Yeung S, Simpson JA, Tjitra E, Anstey NM, Poespoprodjo JR, Price RN, Douglas NM. 2016. Plasmodium vivax infection: a major determinant of severe anaemia in infancy. Malar J, 15 (1), pp. 321. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Most malarious countries outside of Africa are co-endemic for Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax. The comparative burden of anaemia in the community caused by these two species is incompletely characterized. METHODS: A three-stage, cross-sectional, community survey was used to determine the proportion of moderate or severe anaemia (haemoglobin <7 g/dL) attributable to patent P. vivax, P. falciparum and mixed parasitaemia in Papua, Indonesia. Adjusted population-attributable fractions were calculated from multivariable logistic regression models. Eight hundred and twenty-five households were surveyed with a total of 5255 occupants, 3890 (74 %) of whom were present and provided a blood sample. Plasmodium falciparum parasitaemia was present in 8.1 % (n = 315) of participants, P. vivax in 6.4 % (n = 250) and mixed infections in 1.9 % (n = 72). Overall, P. falciparum was associated with a mean reduction in haemoglobin of 1.16 g/dL compared to those without patent parasitaemia [95 % confidence interval (95 % CI) 0.91, 1.41 g/dL]. The corresponding values for P. vivax and mixed infections were 0.66 g/dL (95 % CI 0.35, 0.96) and 1.25 g/dL (0.71, 1.80), respectively. Overall, 16.7 % (95 % CI 8.52, 24.2 %) of haemoglobin concentrations <7 g/dL in the community were estimated to be attributable to patent parasitaemia. The fractions for infants and 1-5 years old were 34.4 % (95 % CI -3.30, 58.3 %) and 23.2 % (95 % CI 3.34, 39.0 %), respectively. Plasmodium vivax was associated with a greater than threefold higher attributable fraction of anaemia in infants compared with P. falciparum [27.6 % (95 % CI -3.20, 49.2 %) versus 7.94 % (-5.87, 20.0 %)]. CONCLUSION: Despite comparatively low-level endemicity, malaria is associated with a significant proportion of all cases of community anaemia in southern Papua. Contrary to its benign reputation, P. vivax is an important and preventable risk factor for anaemia during infancy-a probable consequence of relapsing disease prior to the development of immunity.

Wangchuk S, Drukpa T, Penjor K, Peldon T, Dorjey Y, Dorji K, Chhetri V, Trimarsanto H, To S, Murphy A et al. 2016. Where chloroquine still works: the genetic make-up and susceptibility of Plasmodium vivax to chloroquine plus primaquine in Bhutan. Malar J, 15 (1), pp. 277. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Bhutan has made substantial progress in reducing malaria incidence. The national guidelines recommend chloroquine (CQ) and primaquine (PQ) for radical cure of uncomplicated Plasmodium vivax, but the local efficacy has not been assessed. The impact of cases imported from India on the genetic make-up of the local vivax populations is currently unknown. METHODS: Patients over 4 years of age with uncomplicated P. vivax mono-infection were enrolled into a clinical efficacy study and molecular survey. Study participants received a standard dose of CQ (25 mg/kg over 3 days) followed by weekly review until day 28. On day 28 a 14-day regimen of PQ (0.25 mg/kg/day) was commenced under direct observation. After day 42, patients were followed up monthly for a year. The primary and secondary endpoints were risk of treatment failure at day 28 and at 1 year. Parasite genotyping was undertaken at nine tandem repeat markers, and standard population genetic metrics were applied to examine population diversity and structure in infections thought to be acquired inside or outside of Bhutan. RESULTS: A total of 24 patients were enrolled in the clinical study between April 2013 and October 2015. Eight patients (33.3 %) were lost to follow-up in the first 6 months and another eight patients lost between 6 and 12 months. No (0/24) treatment failures occurred by day 28 and no (0/8) parasitaemia was detected following PQ treatment. Some 95.8 % (23/24) of patients were aparasitaemic by day 2. There were no haemolytic or serious events. Genotyping was undertaken on parasites from 12 autochthonous cases and 16 suspected imported cases. Diversity was high (H E 0.87 and 0.90) in both populations. There was no notable differentiation between the autochthonous and imported populations. CONCLUSIONS: CQ and PQ remains effective for radical cure of P. vivax in Bhutan. The genetic analyses indicate that imported infections are sustaining the local vivax population, with concomitant risk of introducing drug-resistant strains.

Ley B, Alam MS, Thriemer K, Hossain MS, Kibria MG, Auburn S, Poirot E, Price RN, Khan WA. 2016. G6PD Deficiency and Antimalarial Efficacy for Uncomplicated Malaria in Bangladesh: A Prospective Observational Study. PLoS One, 11 (4), pp. e0154015. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The Bangladeshi national treatment guidelines for uncomplicated malaria follow WHO recommendations but without G6PD testing prior to primaquine administration. A prospective observational study was conducted to assess the efficacy of the current antimalarial policy. METHODS: Patients with uncomplicated malaria, confirmed by microscopy, attending a health care facility in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh, were treated with artemether-lumefantrine (days 0-2) plus single dose primaquine (0.75mg/kg on day2) for P. falciparum infections, or with chloroquine (days 0-2) plus 14 days primaquine (3.5mg/kg total over 14 days) for P. vivax infections. Hb was measured on days 0, 2 and 9 in all patients and also on days 16 and 30 in patients with P. vivax infection. Participants were followed for 30 days. The study was registered with the clinical trials website (NCT02389374). RESULTS: Between September 2014 and February 2015 a total of 181 patients were enrolled (64% P. falciparum, 30% P. vivax and 6% mixed infections). Median parasite clearance times were 22.0 (Interquartile Range, IQR: 15.2-27.3) hours for P. falciparum, 20.0 (IQR: 9.5-22.7) hours for P. vivax and 16.6 (IQR: 10.0-46.0) hours for mixed infections. All participants were afebrile within 48 hours, two patients with P. falciparum infection remained parasitemic at 48 hours. No patient had recurrent parasitaemia within 30 days. Adjusted male median G6PD activity was 7.82U/gHb. One male participant (1/174) had severe G6PD deficiency (<10% activity), five participants (5/174) had mild G6PD deficiency (10-60% activity). The Hb nadir occurred on day 2 prior to primaquine treatment in P. falciparum and P. vivax infected patients; mean fractional fall in Hb was -8.8% (95%CI -6.7% to -11.0%) and -7.4% (95%CI: -4.5 to -10.4%) respectively. CONCLUSION: The current antimalarial policy remains effective. The prevalence of G6PD deficiency was low. Main contribution to haemolysis in G6PD normal individuals was attributable to acute malaria rather than primaquine administration. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02389374.

Duffy MF, Noviyanti R, Tsuboi T, Feng ZP, Trianty L, Sebayang BF, Takashima E, Sumardy F, Lampah DA, Turner L et al. 2016. Differences in PfEMP1s recognized by antibodies from patients with uncomplicated or severe malaria. Malar J, 15 (1), pp. 258. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Plasmodium falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1 (PfEMP1) variants are encoded by var genes and mediate pathogenic cytoadhesion and antigenic variation in malaria. PfEMP1s can be broadly divided into three principal groups (A, B and C) and they contain conserved arrangements of functional domains called domain cassettes. Despite their tremendous diversity there is compelling evidence that a restricted subset of PfEMP1s is expressed in severe disease. In this study antibodies from patients with severe and uncomplicated malaria were compared for differences in reactivity with a range of PfEMP1s to determine whether antibodies to particular PfEMP1 domains were associated with severe or uncomplicated malaria. METHODS: Parts of expressed var genes in a severe malaria patient were identified by RNAseq and several of these partial PfEMP1 domains were expressed together with others from laboratory isolates. Antibodies from Papuan patients to these parts of multiple PfEMP1 proteins were measured. RESULTS: Patients with uncomplicated malaria were more likely to have antibodies that recognized PfEMP1 of Group C type and recognized a broader repertoire of group A and B PfEMP1s than patients with severe malaria. CONCLUSION: These data suggest that exposure to a broad range of group A and B PfEMP1s is associated with protection from severe disease in Papua, Indonesia.

Kim JY, Goo YK, Zo YG, Ji SY, Trimarsanto H, To S, Clark TG, Price RN, Auburn S. 2016. Further Evidence of Increasing Diversity of Plasmodium vivax in the Republic of Korea in Recent Years. PLoS One, 11 (3), pp. e0151514. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Vivax malaria was successfully eliminated from the Republic of Korea (ROK) in the late 1970s but re-emerged in 1993. Two decades later as the ROK enters the final stages of malaria elimination, dedicated surveillance of the local P. vivax population is critical. We apply a population genetic approach to gauge P. vivax transmission dynamics in the ROK between 2010 and 2012. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: P. vivax positive blood samples from 98 autochthonous cases were collected from patients attending health centers in the ROK in 2010 (n = 27), 2011 (n = 48) and 2012 (n = 23). Parasite genotyping was undertaken at 9 tandem repeat markers. Although not reaching significance, a trend of increasing population diversity was observed from 2010 (HE = 0.50 ± 0.11) to 2011 (HE = 0.56 ± 0.08) and 2012 (HE = 0.60 ± 0.06). Conversely, linkage disequilibrium declined during the same period: IAS = 0.15 in 2010 (P = 0.010), 0.09 in 2011 (P = 0.010) and 0.05 in 2012 (P = 0.010). In combination with data from other ROK studies undertaken between 1994 and 2007, our results are consistent with increasing parasite divergence since re-emergence. Polyclonal infections were rare (3% infections) suggesting that local out-crossing alone was unlikely to explain the increased divergence. Cases introduced from an external reservoir may therefore have contributed to the increased diversity. Aside from one isolate, all infections carried a short MS20 allele (142 or 149 bp), not observed in other studies in tropical endemic countries despite high diversity, inferring that these regions are unlikely reservoirs. CONCLUSIONS: Whilst a number of factors may explain the observed population genetic trends, the available evidence suggests that an external geographic reservoir with moderate diversity sustains the majority of P. vivax infection in the ROK, with important implications for malaria elimination.

MalariaGEN Plasmodium falciparum Community Project. 2016. Genomic epidemiology of artemisinin resistant malaria. Elife, 5 (MARCH2016), | Show Abstract | Read more

The current epidemic of artemisinin resistant Plasmodium falciparum in Southeast Asia is the result of a soft selective sweep involving at least 20 independent kelch13 mutations. In a large global survey, we find that kelch13 mutations which cause resistance in Southeast Asia are present at low frequency in Africa. We show that African kelch13 mutations have originated locally, and that kelch13 shows a normal variation pattern relative to other genes in Africa, whereas in Southeast Asia there is a great excess of non-synonymous mutations, many of which cause radical amino-acid changes. Thus, kelch13 is not currently undergoing strong selection in Africa, despite a deep reservoir of variations that could potentially allow resistance to emerge rapidly. The practical implications are that public health surveillance for artemisinin resistance should not rely on kelch13 data alone, and interventions to prevent resistance must account for local evolutionary conditions, shown by genomic epidemiology to differ greatly between geographical regions.

Wirjanata G, Handayuni I, Zaloumis SG, Chalfein F, Prayoga P, Kenangalem E, Poespoprodjo JR, Noviyanti R, Simpson JA, Price RN, Marfurt J. 2016. Analysis of ex vivo drug response data of Plasmodium clinical isolates: the pros and cons of different computer programs and online platforms. Malar J, 15 (1), pp. 137. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: In vitro drug susceptibility testing of malaria parasites remains an important component of surveillance for anti-malarial drug resistance. The half-maximal inhibition of growth (IC50) is the most commonly reported parameter expressing drug susceptibility, derived by a variety of statistical approaches, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. METHODS: In this study, licensed computer programs WinNonlin and GraphPad Prism 6.0, and the open access programs HN-NonLin, Antimalarial ICEstimator (ICE), and In Vitro Analysis and Reporting Tool (IVART) were tested for their ease of use and ability to estimate reliable IC50 values from raw drug response data from 31 Plasmodium falciparum and 29 P. vivax clinical isolates tested with five anti-malarial agents: chloroquine, amodiaquine, piperaquine, mefloquine, and artesunate. RESULTS: The IC50 and slope estimates were similar across all statistical packages for all drugs tested in both species. There was good correlation of results derived from alternative statistical programs and non-linear mixed-effects modelling (NONMEM) which models all isolate data simultaneously. The user-friendliness varied between packages. While HN-NonLin and IVART allow users to enter the data in 96-well format, IVART and GraphPad Prism 6.0 are capable to analyse multiple isolates and drugs in parallel. WinNonlin, GraphPad Prism 6.0, IVART, and ICE provide alerts for non-fitting data and incorrect data entry, facilitating data interpretation. Data analysis using WinNonlin or ICE took the longest computationally, whilst the offline ability of GraphPad Prism 6.0 to analyse multiple isolates and drugs simultaneously made it the fastest among the programs tested. CONCLUSION: IC50 estimates obtained from the programs tested were comparable. In view of processing time and ease of analysis, GraphPad Prism 6.0 or IVART are best suited for routine and large-scale drug susceptibility testing.

Tobgay T, Samdrup P, Jamtsho T, Mannion K, Ortega L, Khamsiriwatchara A, Price RN, Thriemer K, Kaewkungwal J. 2016. Performance and user acceptance of the Bhutan febrile and malaria information system: report from a pilot study. Malar J, 15 (1), pp. 52. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Over the last decade, Bhutan has made substantial progress in controlling malaria. The country is now in an elimination phase, aiming to achieve no locally transmitted malaria by 2018. However, challenges remain and innovative control strategies are needed to overcome these. The evaluation and user acceptance of a robust surveillance tool applicable for informing malaria elimination activities is reported here. METHODS: The Bhutan Febrile and Malaria Information System (BFMIS) is a combination of web-based and mobile technology that captures malariometric surveillance data and generates real time reports. The system was rolled out at six sites and data uploaded regularly for analysis. Data completeness, accuracy and data turnaround time were accessed by comparison to traditional paper based surveillance records. User acceptance and willingness for further roll out was assessed using qualitative and quantitative data. RESULTS: Data completeness was nearly 10 % higher using the electronic system than the paper logs, and accuracy and validity of both approaches was comparable (up to 0.05 % in valid data and up to 3.06 % inaccurate data). Data turnaround time was faster using the BFMIS. General user satisfaction with the BFMIS was high, with high willingness of health facilities to adopt the system. Qualitative interviews revealed several areas for improvement before scale up. CONCLUSIONS: The BFMIS had numerous advantages over the paper-based system and based on the findings of the survey the Vector-Borne Disease Control Programme has taken the decision to incorporate the BMFIS and expand its use throughout all areas at risk for malaria as a key surveillance tool.

Chen I, Clarke SE, Gosling R, Hamainza B, Killeen G, Magill A, O'Meara W, Price RN, Riley EM. 2016. "Asymptomatic" Malaria: A Chronic and Debilitating Infection That Should Be Treated. PLoS Med, 13 (1), pp. e1001942. | Read more

Langford S, Douglas NM, Lampah DA, Simpson JA, Kenangalem E, Sugiarto P, Anstey NM, Poespoprodjo JR, Price RN. 2015. Plasmodium malariae Infection Associated with a High Burden of Anemia: A Hospital-Based Surveillance Study. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 9 (12), pp. e0004195. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Plasmodium malariae is a slow-growing parasite with a wide geographic distribution. Although generally regarded as a benign cause of malaria, it has been associated with nephrotic syndrome, particularly in young children, and can persist in the host for years. Morbidity associated with P. malariae infection has received relatively little attention, and the risk of P. malariae-associated nephrotic syndrome is unknown. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We used data from a very large hospital-based surveillance system incorporating information on clinical diagnoses, blood cell parameters and treatment to describe the demographic distribution, morbidity and mortality associated with P. malariae infection in southern Papua, Indonesia. Between April 2004 and December 2013 there were 1,054,674 patient presentations to Mitra Masyarakat Hospital of which 196,380 (18.6%) were associated with malaria and 5,097 were with P. malariae infection (constituting 2.6% of all malaria cases). The proportion of malaria cases attributable to P. malariae increased with age from 0.9% for patients under one year old to 3.1% for patients older than 15 years. Overall, 8.5% of patients with P. malariae infection required admission to hospital and the median length of stay for these patients was 2.5 days (Interquartile Range: 2.0-4.0 days). Patients with P. malariae infection had a lower mean hemoglobin concentration (9.0 g/dL) than patients with P. falciparum (9.5 g/dL), P. vivax (9.6g/dL) and mixed species infections (9.3g/dL). There were four cases of nephrotic syndrome recorded in patients with P. malariae infection, three of which were in children younger than 5 years old, giving a risk in this age group of 0.47% (95% Confidence Interval; 0.10% to 1.4%). Overall, 2.4% (n = 16) of patients hospitalized with P. malariae infection subsequently died in hospital, similar to the proportions for the other endemic Plasmodium species (range: 0% for P. ovale to 1.6% for P. falciparum). CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Plasmodium malariae infection is relatively uncommon in Papua, Indonesia but is associated with significant morbidity from anemia and a similar risk of mortality to patients hospitalized with P. falciparum and P. vivax infection. In our large hospital database, one in 200 children under the age of 5 years with P. malariae infection were recorded as having nephrotic syndrome.

Abreha T, Alemayehu B, Assefa A, Awab GR, Baird JK, Bezabih B, Cheah PY, Day NP, Devine A, Dorda M et al. 2015. Improving the radical cure of vivax malaria (IMPROV): a study protocol for a multicentre randomised, placebo-controlled comparison of short and long course primaquine regimens BMC INFECTIOUS DISEASES, 15 (1), | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2015 The IMPROV Study Group.Background: Plasmodium vivax malaria is a major cause of morbidity and recognised as an important contributor to mortality in some endemic areas. The current recommended treatment regimen for the radical cure of P. vivax includes a schizontocidal antimalarial, usually chloroquine, combined with a 14 day regimen of primaquine. The long treatment course frequently results in poor adherence and effectiveness. Shorter courses of higher daily doses of primaquine have the potential to improve adherence and thus effectiveness without compromising safety. The proposed multicentre randomised clinical trial aims to provide evidence across a variety of endemic settings on the safety and efficacy of high dose short course primaquine in glucose-6-phosphate-dehydrogenase (G6PD) normal patients. Design: This study is designed as a placebo controlled, double blinded, randomized trial in four countries: Indonesia, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Ethiopia. G6PD normal patients diagnosed with vivax malaria are randomized to receive either 7 or 14 days high dose primaquine or placebo. G6PD deficient (G6PDd) patients are allocated to weekly primaquine doses for 8 weeks. All treatment is directly observed and recurrent episodes are treated with the same treatment than allocated at the enrolment episode. Patients are followed daily until completion of treatment, weekly until 8 weeks and then monthly until 1 year after initiation of the treatment. The primary endpoint is the incidence rate (per person year) of symptomatic recurrent P. vivax parasitaemia over 12 months of follow-up, for all individuals, controlling for site, comparing the 7 versus 14-day primaquine treatment arms. Secondary endpoints are other efficacy measures such as incidence risk at different time points. Further endpoints are risks of haemolysis and severe adverse events. Discussion: This study has been approved by relevant institutional ethics committees in the UK and Australia, and all participating countries. Results will be disseminated to inform P. vivax malaria treatment policy through peer-reviewed publications and academic presentations. Findings will contribute to a better understanding of the risks and benefits of primaquine which is crucial in persuading policy makers as well as clinicians of the importance of radical cure of vivax malaria, contributing to decreased transmission and a reduce parasite reservoir. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01814683. Registered March 18, 2013

Getachew S, Thriemer K, Auburn S, Abera A, Gadisa E, Aseffa A, Price RN, Petros B. 2015. Chloroquine efficacy for Plasmodium vivax malaria treatment in southern Ethiopia. Malar J, 14 (1), pp. 525. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Chloroquine (CQ) is the first-line treatment for vivax malaria in Ethiopia, but there is evidence for its declining efficacy. Defining the extent and regional distribution of CQ resistance is critical to ensure optimal treatment guidelines. This study aimed to provide data on the therapeutic efficacy of CQ against Plasmodium vivax malaria in southern Ethiopia. METHODS: Patients with P. vivax mono-infection aged between 8 months and 65 years were enrolled in a clinical efficacy trial. The study was conducted at four sites in southern Ethiopia. Study participants were treated with a supervised course of CQ (25 mg/kg over three consecutive days), followed by weekly blood film examination and clinical assessment for 28 days. CQ blood concentrations were not assessed. The primary endpoint was the risk of failure at 28 days by survival analysis. RESULTS: Between May 2010 and December 2013, 288 patients were enrolled in the study (n = 89 in Shele, n = 52 in Guba, n = 57 in Batu and n = 90 in Shone). Baseline characteristics varied significantly between sites. In total 34 (11.8%) patients were censored during follow up (five with Plasmodium falciparum parasitaemia and 29 lost to follow up). Two (0.7%) patients experienced early treatment failure and 23 (8%) late treatment failure. The overall risk of recurrence by day 28 was 9.4% (95% CI 6.4-13.6%) with site-specific estimates of 3.8% (95% CI 1.2-11.3) for Shele, 21.9% (95% CI 12.2-36.1) for Guba, 5.9% (95% CI 1.9-17.3) for Batu and 9.2% (95% CI 4.5-17.6) for Shone. CONCLUSION: There is evidence of reduced CQ efficacy across three of the four study sites, with the degree of resistance severe enough in Guba to suggest that review of treatment policy may be warranted.

Anstey NM, Auburn S, Baird JK, Battle KE, Bobogare A, Chancellor A, Chasombat S, Cheng Q, Domingo GJ, Drakeley CJ et al. 2015. Targeting vivax malaria in the Asia Pacific: The Asia Pacific Malaria Elimination Network Vivax Working Group MALARIA JOURNAL, 14 (1), | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2015 World Health Organization; licensee BioMed Central.The Asia Pacific Malaria Elimination Network (APMEN) is a collaboration of 18 country partners committed to eliminating malaria from within their borders. Over the past 5 years, APMEN has helped to build the knowledge, tools and in-country technical expertise required to attain this goal. At its inaugural meeting in Brisbane in 2009, Plasmodium vivax infections were identified across the region as a common threat to this ambitious programme; the APMEN Vivax Working Group was established to tackle specifically this issue. The Working Group developed a four-stage strategy to identify knowledge gaps, build regional consensus on shared priorities, generate evidence and change practice to optimize malaria elimination activities. This case study describes the issues faced and the solutions found in developing this robust strategic partnership between national programmes and research partners within the Working Group. The success of the approach adopted by the group may facilitate similar applications in other regions seeking to deploy evidence-based policy and practice.

Ley B, Luter N, Espino FE, Devine A, Kalnoky M, Lubell Y, Thriemer K, Baird JK, Poirot E, Conan N et al. 2015. The challenges of introducing routine G6PD testing into radical cure: a workshop report. Malar J, 14 (1), pp. 377. | Show Abstract | Read more

The only currently available drug that effectively removes malaria hypnozoites from the human host is primaquine. The use of 8-aminoquinolines is hampered by haemolytic side effects in glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficient individuals. Recently a number of qualitative and a quantitative rapid diagnostic test (RDT) format have been developed that provide an alternative to the current standard G6PD activity assays. The WHO has recently recommended routine testing of G6PD status prior to primaquine radical cure whenever possible. A workshop was held in the Philippines in early 2015 to discuss key challenges and knowledge gaps that hinder the introduction of routine G6PD testing. Two point-of-care (PoC) test formats for the measurement of G6PD activity are currently available: qualitative tests comparable to malaria RDT as well as biosensors that provide a quantitative reading. Qualitative G6PD PoC tests provide a binomial test result, are easy to use and some products are comparable in price to the widely used fluorescent spot test. Qualitative test results can accurately classify hemizygous males, heterozygous females, but may misclassify females with intermediate G6PD activity. Biosensors provide a more complex quantitative readout and are better suited to identify heterozygous females. While associated with higher costs per sample tested biosensors have the potential for broader use in other scenarios where knowledge of G6PD activity is relevant as well. The introduction of routine G6PD testing is associated with additional costs on top of routine treatment that will vary by setting and will need to be assessed prior to test introduction. Reliable G6PD PoC tests have the potential to play an essential role in future malaria elimination programmes, however require an improved understanding on how to best integrate routine G6PD testing into different health settings.

Wirjanata G, Handayuni I, Prayoga P, Apriyanti D, Chalfein F, Sebayang BF, Kho S, Noviyanti R, Kenangalem E, Campo B et al. 2015. Quantification of Plasmodium ex vivo drug susceptibility by flow cytometry. Malar J, 14 (1), pp. 417. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The emergence and spread of multidrug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax highlights the need for objective measures of ex vivo drug susceptibility. Flow cytometry (FC) has potential to provide a robust and rapid quantification of ex vivo parasite growth. METHODS: Field isolates from Papua, Indonesia, underwent ex vivo drug susceptibility testing against chloroquine, amodiaquine, piperaquine, mefloquine, and artesunate. A single nucleic acid stain (i.e., hydroethidine (HE) for P. falciparum and SYBR Green I (SG) for P. vivax) was used to quantify infected red blood cells by FC-based signal detection. Data derived by FC were compared to standard quantification by light microscopy (LM). A subset of isolates was used to compare single and double staining techniques. RESULTS: In total, 57 P. falciparum and 23 P. vivax field isolates were collected for ex vivo drug susceptibility testing. Reliable paired data between LM and FC was obtained for 88 % (295/334) of these assays. The median difference of derived IC50 values varied from -5.4 to 6.1 nM, associated with 0.83-1.23 fold change in IC50 values between LM and FC. In 15 assays (5.1 %), the derived difference of IC50 estimates was beyond the 95 % limits of agreement; in eleven assays (3.7 %), this was attributable to low parasite growth (final schizont count < 40 %), and in four assays (1.4 %) due to low initial parasitaemia at the start of assay (<2000 µl(-1)). In a subset of seven samples, LM, single and double staining FC techniques generated similar IC50 values. CONCLUSIONS: A single staining FC-based assay using a portable cytometer provides a simple, fast and versatile platform for field surveillance of ex vivo drug susceptibility in clinical P. falciparum and P. vivax isolates.

Getachew S, To S, Trimarsanto H, Thriemer K, Clark TG, Petros B, Aseffa A, Price RN, Auburn S. 2015. Variation in Complexity of Infection and Transmission Stability between Neighbouring Populations of Plasmodium vivax in Southern Ethiopia. PLoS One, 10 (10), pp. e0140780. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: P. vivax is an important public health burden in Ethiopia, accounting for almost half of all malaria cases. Owing to heterogeneous transmission across the country, a stronger evidence base on local transmission dynamics is needed to optimise allocation of resources and improve malaria interventions. METHODOLOGY AND PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: In a pilot evaluation of local level P. vivax molecular surveillance in southern Ethiopia, the diversity and population structure of isolates collected between May and November 2013 were investigated. Blood samples were collected from microscopy positive P. vivax patients recruited to clinical and cross-sectional surveys from four sites: Arbaminch, Halaba, Badawacho and Hawassa. Parasite genotyping was undertaken at nine tandem repeat markers. Eight loci were successfully genotyped in 197 samples (between 36 and 59 per site). Heterogeneity was observed in parasite diversity and structure amongst the sites. Badawacho displayed evidence of unstable transmission, with clusters of identical clonal infections. Linkage disequilibrium in Badawacho was higher (IAS = 0.32, P = 0.010) than in the other populations (IAS range = 0.01-0.02) and declined markedly after adjusting for identical infections (IAS = 0.06, P = 0.010). Other than Badawacho (HE = 0.70), population diversity was equivalently high across the sites (HE = 0.83). Polyclonal infections were more frequent in Hawassa (67%) than the other populations (range: 8-44%). Despite the variable diversity, differentiation between the sites was low (FST range: 5 x 10-3-0.03). CONCLUSIONS: Marked variation in parasite population structure likely reflects differing local transmission dynamics. Parasite genotyping in these heterogeneous settings has potential to provide important complementary information with which to optimise malaria control interventions.

WWARN Parasite Clearance Study Group, Abdulla S, Ashley EA, Bassat Q, Bethell D, Björkman A, Borrmann S, D'Alessandro U, Dahal P, Day NP et al. 2015. Baseline data of parasite clearance in patients with falciparum malaria treated with an artemisinin derivative: an individual patient data meta-analysis. Malar J, 14 (1), pp. 359. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Artemisinin resistance in Plasmodium falciparum manifests as slow parasite clearance but this measure is also influenced by host immunity, initial parasite biomass and partner drug efficacy. This study collated data from clinical trials of artemisinin derivatives in falciparum malaria with frequent parasite counts to provide reference parasite clearance estimates stratified by location, treatment and time, to examine host factors affecting parasite clearance, and to assess the relationships between parasite clearance and risk of recrudescence during follow-up. METHODS: Data from 24 studies, conducted from 1996 to 2013, with frequent parasite counts were pooled. Parasite clearance half-life (PC1/2) was estimated using the WWARN Parasite Clearance Estimator. Random effects regression models accounting for study and site heterogeneity were used to explore factors affecting PC1/2 and risk of recrudescence within areas with reported delayed parasite clearance (western Cambodia, western Thailand after 2000, southern Vietnam, southern Myanmar) and in all other areas where parasite populations are artemisinin sensitive. RESULTS: PC1/2 was estimated in 6975 patients, 3288 of whom also had treatment outcomes evaluate d during 28-63 days follow-up, with 93 (2.8 %) PCR-confirmed recrudescences. In areas with artemisinin-sensitive parasites, the median PC1/2 following three-day artesunate treatment (4 mg/kg/day) ranged from 1.8 to 3.0 h and the proportion of patients with PC1/2 >5 h from 0 to 10 %. Artesunate doses of 4 mg/kg/day decreased PC1/2 by 8.1 % (95 % CI 3.2-12.6) compared to 2 mg/kg/day, except in populations with delayed parasite clearance. PC1/2 was longer in children and in patients with fever or anaemia at enrolment. Long PC1/2 (HR = 2.91, 95 % CI 1.95-4.34 for twofold increase, p < 0.001) and high initial parasitaemia (HR = 2.23, 95 % CI 1.44-3.45 for tenfold increase, p < 0.001) were associated independently with an increased risk of recrudescence. In western Cambodia, the region with the highest prevalence of artemisinin resistance, there was no evidence for increasing PC1/2 since 2007. CONCLUSIONS: Several factors affect PC1/2. As substantial heterogeneity in parasite clearance exists between locations, early detection of artemisinin resistance requires reference PC1/2 data. Studies with frequent parasite count measurements to characterize PC1/2 should be encouraged. In western Cambodia, where PC1/2 values are longest, there is no evidence for recent emergence of higher levels of artemisinin resistance.

Moreira CM, Abo-Shehada M, Price RN, Drakeley CJ. 2015. A systematic review of sub-microscopic Plasmodium vivax infection. Malar J, 14 (1), pp. 360. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: An accurate estimate of Plasmodium vivax prevalence is essential for the successful implementation of malaria control and elimination programmes. Prevalence estimates both inform control strategies and are used in their evaluation. Light microscopy is the main method for detecting Plasmodium parasitaemia in the peripheral blood, but compared to molecular diagnostics, such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR), has limited sensitivity. METHODS: A systematic review and meta-analysis was conducted to assess the effect of detection method on the prevalence of P. vivax and to quantify the extent to which P. vivax infections are undetected by microscopy. Embase, Medline and the Cochrane Database were searched for studies reporting prevalence by PCR and by microscopy and that contained all of the following key words: vivax, PCR, and malaria. Prevalence estimates and study meta-data were extracted systematically from each publication. Combined microscopy:PCR prevalence ratios were estimated by random effects meta-analysis. Sensitivity and specificity of microscopy were calculated using PCR as the gold standard. RESULTS: Of 874 studies reviewed, 40 met the criteria for inclusion contributing 54 prevalence pairs. The prevalence of P. vivax infection measured by PCR was consistently higher than the prevalence measured by microscopy with sub-patent parasitaemia. The mean prevalence of infection detected by microscopy was 67 % (95 % CI 59-73 %) lower than the prevalence detected by PCR. The detection of sub-patent parasitaemia did not vary according to the microscopy method (thick or, thick and thin smears), the PCR prevalence (as a measure of the true P. vivax prevalence), the type of blood used or DNA extraction method. CONCLUSIONS: Quantifying P. vivax parasitaemia by PCR rather than microscopy consistently increased prevalence estimates by a factor of 2.3. Whilst the sensitivity of microscopy can be improved by better methods, molecular methods have potential to be scaled up to improve the detection of P. vivax transmission reservoirs.

Ashley EA, Aweeka F, Barnes KI, Bassat Q, Borrmann S, Dahal P, Davis TME, Deloron P, Denis MB, Djimde AA 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.

Commons RJ, Robinson CH, Gawler D, Davis JS, Price RN. 2015. High burden of diabetic foot infections in the top end of Australia: An emerging health crisis (DEFINE study). Diabetes Res Clin Pract, 110 (2), pp. 147-157. | Show Abstract | Read more

INTRODUCTION: The risk of diabetes mellitus is increasing worldwide, and is particularly high in Indigenous Australians. Complicated foot infection is one of the most common sequelae of diabetes. We describe the incidence and associations of Indigenous and non-Indigenous inpatients with diabetic foot infections at Royal Darwin Hospital. METHODS: All adult Royal Darwin Hospital inpatients with diabetic foot infections were enrolled prospectively from September 2012 to November 2013. Incidence, demographics, microbiology, management and clinical outcomes were analysed by Indigenous status, and association with methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. RESULTS: There were 245 separate hospital admissions in 177 patients with an incidence of 79 admissions per 100,000 person years. Patients occupied a mean of 19.4 hospital beds each day. Compared to the non-Indigenous population, Indigenous patients had a greater incidence of admission (Rate Ratio (RR)=5.1, [95%CI=3.8, 7.0]), were younger (mean difference of 11.1 years; p<0.001), and more likely to undergo major and minor amputations (RR=4.1 [95%CI=1.6, 10.7], and 6.2 [95%CI=3.5, 11.1] respectively). Non-multiresistant methicillin resistant S. aureus was present in 44.7% of wounds from Indigenous patients versus 20.6% of non-Indigenous patients (Odds Ratio (OR)=3.1, [95%CI=1.5, 6.4]), whereas P. aeruginosa presence was significantly lower (15.8% versus 46.0%; OR=0.22; [95%CI=0.11, 0.45]). Methicillin resistant S. aureus or P. aeruginosa infections were associated with longer antibiotic courses and durations of stay. CONCLUSIONS: This study highlights a rising burden of diabetic foot infections in the Top End of Australia, with a four-fold increase in bed days since 2002 and an overrepresentation in the Indigenous population.

Tanner M, Greenwood B, Whitty CJ, Ansah EK, Price RN, Dondorp AM, von Seidlein L, Baird JK, Beeson JG, Fowkes FJ et al. 2015. Malaria eradication and elimination: views on how to translate a vision into reality. BMC Med, 13 (1), pp. 167. | Show Abstract | Read more

Although global efforts in the past decade have halved the number of deaths due to malaria, there are still an estimated 219 million cases of malaria a year, causing more than half a million deaths. In this forum article, we asked experts working in malaria research and control to discuss the ways in which malaria might eventually be eradicated. Their collective views highlight the challenges and opportunities, and explain how multi-factorial and integrated processes could eventually make malaria eradication a reality.

Wirjanata G, Sebayang BF, Chalfein F, Prayoga, Handayuni I, Trianty L, Kenangalem E, Noviyanti R, Campo B, Poespoprodjo JR et al. 2015. Potent Ex Vivo Activity of Naphthoquine and Methylene Blue against Drug-Resistant Clinical Isolates of Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 59 (10), pp. 6117-6124. | Show Abstract | Read more

The 4-aminoquinoline naphthoquine (NQ) and the thiazine dye methylene blue (MB) have potent in vitro efficacies against Plasmodium falciparum, but susceptibility data for P. vivax are limited. The species- and stage-specific ex vivo activities of NQ and MB were assessed using a modified schizont maturation assay on clinical field isolates from Papua, Indonesia, where multidrug-resistant P. falciparum and P. vivax are prevalent. Both compounds were highly active against P. falciparum (median [range] 50% inhibitory concentration [IC50]: NQ, 8.0 nM [2.6 to 71.8 nM]; and MB, 1.6 nM [0.2 to 7.0 nM]) and P. vivax (NQ, 7.8 nM [1.5 to 34.2 nM]; and MB, 1.2 nM [0.4 to 4.3 nM]). Stage-specific drug susceptibility assays revealed significantly greater IC50s in parasites exposed at the trophozoite stage than at the ring stage for NQ in P. falciparum (26.5 versus 5.1 nM, P = 0.021) and P. vivax (341.6 versus 6.5 nM, P = 0.021) and for MB in P. vivax (10.1 versus 1.6 nM, P = 0.010). The excellent ex vivo activities of NQ and MB against both P. falciparum and P. vivax highlight their potential utility for the treatment of multidrug-resistant malaria in areas where both species are endemic.

Poespoprodjo JR, Poespoprodjo JR, Poespoprodjo JR, Fobia W, Kenangalem E, Kenangalem E, Lampah DA, Sugiarto P, Tjitra E, Anstey NM et al. 2015. Treatment policy change to dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine contributes to the reduction of adverse maternal and pregnancy outcomes Malaria Journal, | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2015 Poespoprodjo et al. Background: In Papua, Indonesia, maternal malaria is prevalent, multidrug resistant and associated with adverse outcomes for mother and baby. In March 2006, anti-malarial policy was revised for the second and third trimester of pregnancy to dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DHP) for all species of malaria. This study presents the temporal analysis of adverse outcomes in pregnancy and early life following this policy change. Methods: From April 2004 to May 2010, a standardized questionnaire was used to collect information from all pregnant women admitted to the maternity ward. A physical examination was performed on all live birth newborns. The relative risks (RR) and the associated population attributable risks (PAR) of adverse outcomes in women with a history of malaria treatment to the risk in those without a history of malaria during the current pregnancy were examined to evaluate the temporal trends before and after DHP deployment. Results: Of 6,556 women enrolled with known pregnancy outcome, 1,018 (16%) reported prior anti-malarial treatment during their pregnancy. The proportion of women with malaria reporting treatment with DHP rose from 0% in 2004 to 64% (121/189) in 2010. In those with history of malaria during pregnancy, the increasing use of DHP was associated with a 54% fall in the proportion of maternal malaria at delivery and a 98% decrease in congenital malaria (from 7.1% prior to 0.1% after policy change). Overall policy change to more effective treatment was associated with an absolute 2% reduction of maternal severe anaemia and absolute 4.5% decrease in low birth weight babies. Conclusions: Introduction of highly effective treatment in pregnancy was associated with a reduction of maternal malaria at delivery and improved neonatal outcomes. Ensuring universal access to arteminisin combination therapy (ACT) in pregnancy in an area of multidrug resistance has potential to impact significantly on maternal and infant health.

Wirjanata G, Sebayang BF, Chalfein F, Prayoga, Handayuni I, Noviyanti R, Kenangalem E, Poespoprodjo JR, Burgess SJ, Peyton DH et al. 2015. Contrasting ex vivo efficacies of "reversed chloroquine" compounds in chloroquine-resistant Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax isolates. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 59 (9), pp. 5721-5726. | Show Abstract | Read more

Chloroquine (CQ) has been the mainstay of malaria treatment for more than 60 years. However, the emergence and spread of CQ resistance now restrict its use to only a few areas where malaria is endemic. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether a novel combination of a CQ-like moiety and an imipramine-like pharmacophore can reverse CQ resistance ex vivo. Between March to October 2011 and January to September 2013, two "reversed chloroquine" (RCQ) compounds (PL69 and PL106) were tested against multidrug-resistant field isolates of Plasmodium falciparum (n = 41) and Plasmodium vivax (n = 45) in Papua, Indonesia, using a modified ex vivo schizont maturation assay. The RCQ compounds showed high efficacy against both CQ-resistant P. falciparum and P. vivax field isolates. For P. falciparum, the median 50% inhibitory concentrations (IC50s) were 23.2 nM for PL69 and 26.6 nM for PL106, compared to 79.4 nM for unmodified CQ (P < 0.001 and P = 0.036, respectively). The corresponding values for P. vivax were 19.0, 60.0, and 60.9 nM (P < 0.001 and P = 0.018, respectively). There was a significant correlation between IC50s of CQ and PL69 (Spearman's rank correlation coefficient [r s] = 0.727, P < 0.001) and PL106 (rs = 0.830, P < 0.001) in P. vivax but not in P. falciparum. Both RCQs were equally active against the ring and trophozoite stages of P. falciparum, but in P. vivax, PL69 and PL106 showed less potent activity against trophozoite stages (median IC50s, 130.2 and 172.5 nM) compared to ring stages (median IC50s, 17.6 and 91.3 nM). RCQ compounds have enhanced ex vivo activity against CQ-resistant clinical isolates of P. falciparum and P. vivax, suggesting the potential use of reversal agents in antimalarial drug development. Interspecies differences in RCQ compound activity may indicate differences in CQ pharmacokinetics between the two Plasmodium species.

Baragaña B, Hallyburton I, Lee MC, Norcross NR, Grimaldi R, Otto TD, Proto WR, Blagborough AM, Meister S, Wirjanata G et al. 2015. A novel multiple-stage antimalarial agent that inhibits protein synthesis. Nature, 522 (7556), pp. 315-320. | Show Abstract | Read more

There is an urgent need for new drugs to treat malaria, with broad therapeutic potential and novel modes of action, to widen the scope of treatment and to overcome emerging drug resistance. Here we describe the discovery of DDD107498, a compound with a potent and novel spectrum of antimalarial activity against multiple life-cycle stages of the Plasmodium parasite, with good pharmacokinetic properties and an acceptable safety profile. DDD107498 demonstrates potential to address a variety of clinical needs, including single-dose treatment, transmission blocking and chemoprotection. DDD107498 was developed from a screening programme against blood-stage malaria parasites; its molecular target has been identified as translation elongation factor 2 (eEF2), which is responsible for the GTP-dependent translocation of the ribosome along messenger RNA, and is essential for protein synthesis. This discovery of eEF2 as a viable antimalarial drug target opens up new possibilities for drug discovery.

Kho S, Marfurt J, Noviyanti R, Kusuma A, Piera KA, Burdam FH, Kenangalem E, Lampah DA, Engwerda CR, Poespoprodjo JR et al. 2015. Preserved dendritic cell HLA-DR expression and reduced regulatory T cell activation in asymptomatic Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax infection. Infect Immun, 83 (8), pp. 3224-3232. | Show Abstract | Read more

Clinical illness with Plasmodium falciparum or Plasmodium vivax compromises the function of dendritic cells (DC) and expands regulatory T (Treg) cells. Individuals with asymptomatic parasitemia have clinical immunity, restricting parasite expansion and preventing clinical disease. The role of DC and Treg cells during asymptomatic Plasmodium infection is unclear. During a cross-sectional household survey in Papua, Indonesia, we examined the number and activation of blood plasmacytoid DC (pDC), CD141(+), and CD1c(+) myeloid DC (mDC) subsets and Treg cells using flow cytometry in 168 afebrile children (of whom 15 had P. falciparum and 36 had P. vivax infections) and 162 afebrile adults (of whom 20 had P. falciparum and 20 had P. vivax infections), alongside samples from 16 patients hospitalized with uncomplicated malaria. Unlike DC from malaria patients, DC from children and adults with asymptomatic, microscopy-positive P. vivax or P. falciparum infection increased or retained HLA-DR expression. Treg cells in asymptomatic adults and children exhibited reduced activation, suggesting increased immune responsiveness. The pDC and mDC subsets varied according to clinical immunity (asymptomatic or symptomatic Plasmodium infection) and, in asymptomatic infection, according to host age and parasite species. In conclusion, active control of asymptomatic infection was associated with and likely contingent upon functional DC and reduced Treg cell activation.

Price RN, von Seidlein L, Valecha N, Nosten F, Baird JK, White NJ. 2015. Global extent of chloroquine-resistant Plasmodium vivax - Authors' reply. Lancet Infect Dis, 15 (6), pp. 630-631. | Read more

Battle KE, Cameron E, Guerra CA, Golding N, Duda KA, Howes RE, Elyazar IR, Price RN, Baird JK, Reiner RC et al. 2015. Defining the relationship between Plasmodium vivax parasite rate and clinical disease. Malar J, 14 pp. 191. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Though essential to the development and evaluation of national malaria control programmes, precise enumeration of the clinical illness burden of malaria in endemic countries remains challenging where local surveillance systems are incomplete. Strategies to infer annual incidence rates from parasite prevalence survey compilations have proven effective in the specific case of Plasmodium falciparum, but have yet to be developed for Plasmodium vivax. Moreover, defining the relationship between P. vivax prevalence and clinical incidence may also allow levels of endemicity to be inferred for areas where the information balance is reversed, that is, incident case numbers are more widely gathered than parasite surveys; both applications ultimately facilitating cartographic estimates of P. vivax transmission intensity and its ensuring disease burden. METHODS: A search for active case detection surveys was conducted and the recorded incidence values were matched to local, contemporary parasite rate measures and classified to geographic zones of differing relapse phenotypes. A hierarchical Bayesian model was fitted to these data to quantify the relationship between prevalence and incidence while accounting for variation among relapse zones. RESULTS: The model, fitted with 176 concurrently measured P. vivax incidence and prevalence records, was a linear regression of the logarithm of incidence against the logarithm of age-standardized prevalence. Specific relationships for the six relapse zones where data were available were drawn, as well as a pooled overall relationship. The slope of the curves varied among relapse zones; zones with short predicted time to relapse had steeper slopes than those observed to contain long-latency relapse phenotypes. CONCLUSIONS: The fitted relationships, along with appropriate uncertainty metrics, allow for estimates of clinical incidence of known confidence to be made from wherever P. vivax prevalence data are available. This is a prerequisite for cartographic-based inferences about the global burden of morbidity due to P. vivax, which will be used to inform control efforts.

Noviyanti R, Coutrier F, Utami RA, Trimarsanto H, Tirta YK, Trianty L, Kusuma A, Sutanto I, Kosasih A, Kusriastuti R et al. 2015. Contrasting Transmission Dynamics of Co-endemic Plasmodium vivax and P. falciparum: Implications for Malaria Control and Elimination. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 9 (5), pp. e0003739. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Outside of Africa, P. falciparum and P. vivax usually coexist. In such co-endemic regions, successful malaria control programs have a greater impact on reducing falciparum malaria, resulting in P. vivax becoming the predominant species of infection. Adding to the challenges of elimination, the dormant liver stage complicates efforts to monitor the impact of ongoing interventions against P. vivax. We investigated molecular approaches to inform the respective transmission dynamics of P. falciparum and P. vivax and how these could help to prioritize public health interventions. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Genotype data generated at 8 and 9 microsatellite loci were analysed in 168 P. falciparum and 166 P. vivax isolates, respectively, from four co-endemic sites in Indonesia (Bangka, Kalimantan, Sumba and West Timor). Measures of diversity, linkage disequilibrium (LD) and population structure were used to gauge the transmission dynamics of each species in each setting. Marked differences were observed in the diversity and population structure of P. vivax versus P. falciparum. In Bangka, Kalimantan and Timor, P. falciparum diversity was low, and LD patterns were consistent with unstable, epidemic transmission, amenable to targeted intervention. In contrast, P. vivax diversity was higher and transmission appeared more stable. Population differentiation was lower in P. vivax versus P. falciparum, suggesting that the hypnozoite reservoir might play an important role in sustaining local transmission and facilitating the spread of P. vivax infections in different endemic settings. P. vivax polyclonality varied with local endemicity, demonstrating potential utility in informing on transmission intensity in this species. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Molecular approaches can provide important information on malaria transmission that is not readily available from traditional epidemiological measures. Elucidation of the transmission dynamics circulating in a given setting will have a major role in prioritising malaria control strategies, particularly against the relatively neglected non-falciparum species.

WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN) AS-AQ Study Group, Adjuik MA, Allan R, Anvikar AR, Ashley EA, Ba MS, Barennes H, Barnes KI, Bassat Q, Baudin E 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.

Yeo TW, Lampah DA, Kenangalem E, Tjitra E, Price RN, Weinberg JB, Hyland K, Granger DL, Anstey NM. 2015. Impaired systemic tetrahydrobiopterin bioavailability and increased dihydrobiopterin in adult falciparum malaria: association with disease severity, impaired microvascular function and increased endothelial activation. PLoS Pathog, 11 (3), pp. e1004667. | Show Abstract | Read more

Tetrahydrobiopterin (BH₄) is a co-factor required for catalytic activity of nitric oxide synthase (NOS) and amino acid-monooxygenases, including phenylalanine hydroxylase. BH4 is unstable: during oxidative stress it is non-enzymatically oxidized to dihydrobiopterin (BH₂), which inhibits NOS. Depending on BH₄ availability, NOS oscillates between NO synthase and NADPH oxidase: as the BH₄/BH₂ ratio decreases, NO production falls and is replaced by superoxide. In African children and Asian adults with severe malaria, NO bioavailability decreases and plasma phenylalanine increases, together suggesting possible BH₄ deficiency. The primary three biopterin metabolites (BH₄, BH₂ and B₀ [biopterin]) and their association with disease severity have not been assessed in falciparum malaria. We measured pterin metabolites in urine of adults with severe falciparum malaria (SM; n=12), moderately-severe malaria (MSM, n=17), severe sepsis (SS; n=5) and healthy subjects (HC; n=20) as controls. In SM, urinary BH₄ was decreased (median 0.16 ¼mol/mmol creatinine) compared to MSM (median 0.27), SS (median 0.54), and HC (median 0.34)]; p<0.001. Conversely, BH₂ was increased in SM (median 0.91 ¼mol/mmol creatinine), compared to MSM (median 0.67), SS (median 0.39), and HC (median 0.52); p<0.001, suggesting increased oxidative stress and insufficient recycling of BH2 back to BH4 in severe malaria. Overall, the median BH₄/BH₂ ratio was lowest in SM [0.18 (IQR: 0.04-0.32)] compared to MSM (0.45, IQR 0.27-61), SS (1.03; IQR 0.54-2.38) and controls (0.66; IQR 0.43-1.07); p<0.001. In malaria, a lower BH₄/BH₂ ratio correlated with decreased microvascular reactivity (r=0.41; p=0.03) and increased ICAM-1 (r=-0.52; p=0.005). Decreased BH4 and increased BH₂ in severe malaria (but not in severe sepsis) uncouples NOS, leading to impaired NO bioavailability and potentially increased oxidative stress. Adjunctive therapy to regenerate BH4 may have a role in improving NO bioavailability and microvascular perfusion in severe falciparum malaria.

Pava Z, Handayuni I, Wirjanata G, To S, Trianty L, Noviyanti R, Poespoprodjo JR, Auburn S, Price RN, Marfurt J. 2015. Expression of Plasmodium vivax crt-o Is Related to Parasite Stage but Not Ex Vivo Chloroquine Susceptibility. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 60 (1), pp. 361-367. | Show Abstract | Read more

Chloroquine (CQ)-resistant Plasmodium vivax is present in most countries where P. vivax infection is endemic, but the underlying molecular mechanisms responsible remain unknown. Increased expression of P. vivax crt-o (pvcrt-o) has been correlated with in vivo CQ resistance in an area with low-grade resistance. We assessed pvcrt-o expression in isolates from Papua (Indonesia), where P. vivax is highly CQ resistant. Ex vivo drug susceptibilities to CQ, amodiaquine, piperaquine, mefloquine, and artesunate were determined using a modified schizont maturation assay. Expression levels of pvcrt-o were measured using a novel real-time quantitative reverse transcription-PCR method. Large variations in pvcrt-o expression were observed across the 51 isolates evaluated, with the fold change in expression level ranging from 0.01 to 59 relative to that seen with the P. vivax β-tubulin gene and from 0.01 to 24 relative to that seen with the P. vivax aldolase gene. Expression was significantly higher in isolates with the majority of parasites at the ring stage of development (median fold change, 1.7) compared to those at the trophozoite stage (median fold change, 0.5; P < 0.001). Twenty-nine isolates fulfilled the criteria for ex vivo drug susceptibility testing and showed high variability in CQ responses (median, 107.9 [range, 6.5 to 345.7] nM). After controlling for the parasite stage, we found that pvcrt-o expression levels did not correlate with the ex vivo response to CQ or with that to any of the other antimalarials tested. Our results highlight the importance of development-stage composition for measuring pvcrt-o expression and suggest that pvcrt-o transcription is not a primary determinant of ex vivo drug susceptibility. A comprehensive transcriptomic approach is warranted for an in-depth investigation of the role of gene expression levels and P. vivax drug resistance.

Grigg MJ, William T, Menon J, Dhanaraj P, Barber BE, Wilkes CS, von Seidlein L, Rajahram GS, Pasay C, McCarthy JS et al. 2016. Artesunate-mefloquine versus chloroquine for treatment of uncomplicated Plasmodium knowlesi malaria in Malaysia (ACT KNOW): an open-label, randomised controlled trial. Lancet Infect Dis, 16 (2), pp. 180-188. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The zoonotic parasite Plasmodium knowlesi has become the most common cause of human malaria in Malaysia and is present throughout much of southeast Asia. No randomised controlled trials have been done to identify the optimum treatment for this emerging infection. We aimed to compare artesunate-mefloquine with chloroquine to define the optimum treatment for uncomplicated P knowlesi malaria in adults and children. METHODS: We did this open-label, randomised controlled trial at three district hospitals in Sabah, Malaysia. Patients aged 1 year or older with uncomplicated P knowlesi malaria were randomly assigned, via computer-generated block randomisation (block sizes of 20), to receive oral artesunate-mefloquine (target dose 12 mg/kg artesunate and 25 mg/kg mefloquine) or chloroquine (target dose 25 mg/kg). Research nursing staff were aware of group allocation, but allocation was concealed from the microscopists responsible for determination of the primary endpoint, and study participants were not aware of drug allocation. The primary endpoint was parasite clearance at 24 h. Analysis was by modified intention to treat. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01708876. FINDINGS: Between Oct 16, 2012, and Dec 13, 2014, we randomly assigned 252 patients to receive either artesunate-mefloquine (n=127) or chloroquine (n=125); 226 (90%) patients comprised the modified intention-to-treat population. 24 h after treatment, we recorded parasite clearance in 97 (84% [95% CI 76-91]) of 115 patients in the artesunate-mefloquine group versus 61 (55% [45-64]) of 111 patients in the chloroquine group (difference in proportion 29% [95% CI 18·0-40·8]; p<0·0001). Parasite clearance was faster in patients given artesunate-mefloquine than in those given chloroquine (18·0 h [range 6·0-48·0] vs 24·0 h [6·0-60·0]; p<0·0001), with faster clearance of ring stages in the artesunate-mefloquine group (mean time to 50% clearance of baseline parasites 8·6 h [95% CI 7·9-9·4] vs 13·8 h [12·1-15·4]; p<0·0001). Risk of anaemia within 28 days was lower in patients in the artesunate-mefloquine group (71 [62%; 95% CI 52·2-70·6]) than in those in the chloroquine group (83 [75%; 65·6-82·5]; p=0·035). Gametocytaemia as detected by PCR for pks25 was present in 44 (86%) of 51 patients in the artesunate-mefloquine group and 41 (84%) of 49 patients in the chloroquine group at baseline, and in three (6%) of 49 patients and two (4%) of 48 patients, respectively, at day 7. Fever clearance was faster in the artesunate-mefloquine group (mean 11·5 h [95% CI 8·3-14·6]) than in the chloroquine group (14·8 h [11·7-17·8]; p=0·034). Bed occupancy was 2426 days per 1000 patients in the artesunate-mefloquine group versus 2828 days per 1000 patients in the chloroquine group (incidence rate ratio 0·858 [95% CI 0·812-0·906]; p<0·0001). One (<1%) patient in the artesunate-mefloquine group had a serious neuropsychiatric event regarded as probably related to study drug. INTERPRETATION: Artesunate-mefloquine is highly efficacious for treatment of uncomplicated P knowlesi malaria. The rapid therapeutic response of the drug offers significant advantages compared with chloroquine monotherapy and supports a unified treatment policy for artemisinin-based combination therapy for all Plasmodium species in co-endemic areas. FUNDING: Malaysian Ministry of Health, Australian National Health and Medical Research Council, and Asia Pacific Malaria Elimination Network.

Poespoprodjo JR, Fobia W, Kenangalem E, Lampah DA, Sugiarto P, Tjitra E, Anstey NM, Price RN. 2015. Treatment policy change to dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine contributes to the reduction of adverse maternal and pregnancy outcomes. Malar J, 14 (1), pp. 272. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: In Papua, Indonesia, maternal malaria is prevalent, multidrug resistant and associated with adverse outcomes for mother and baby. In March 2006, anti-malarial policy was revised for the second and third trimester of pregnancy to dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DHP) for all species of malaria. This study presents the temporal analysis of adverse outcomes in pregnancy and early life following this policy change. METHODS: From April 2004 to May 2010, a standardized questionnaire was used to collect information from all pregnant women admitted to the maternity ward. A physical examination was performed on all live birth newborns. The relative risks (RR) and the associated population attributable risks (PAR) of adverse outcomes in women with a history of malaria treatment to the risk in those without a history of malaria during the current pregnancy were examined to evaluate the temporal trends before and after DHP deployment. RESULTS: Of 6,556 women enrolled with known pregnancy outcome, 1,018 (16%) reported prior anti-malarial treatment during their pregnancy. The proportion of women with malaria reporting treatment with DHP rose from 0% in 2004 to 64% (121/189) in 2010. In those with history of malaria during pregnancy, the increasing use of DHP was associated with a 54% fall in the proportion of maternal malaria at delivery and a 98% decrease in congenital malaria (from 7.1% prior to 0.1% after policy change). Overall policy change to more effective treatment was associated with an absolute 2% reduction of maternal severe anaemia and absolute 4.5% decrease in low birth weight babies. CONCLUSIONS: Introduction of highly effective treatment in pregnancy was associated with a reduction of maternal malaria at delivery and improved neonatal outcomes. Ensuring universal access to arteminisin combination therapy (ACT) in pregnancy in an area of multidrug resistance has potential to impact significantly on maternal and infant health.

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.

Hanson J, Phu NH, Hasan MU, Charunwatthana P, Plewes K, Maude RJ, Prapansilp P, Kingston HW, Mishra SK, Mohanty S et al. 2015. The clinical implications of thrombocytopenia in adults with severe falciparum malaria: a retrospective analysis. BMC Med, 13 (1), pp. 97. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Thrombocytopenia is a common finding in adults with severe falciparum malaria, but its clinical and prognostic utility is incompletely defined. METHODS: Clinical and laboratory data from 647 adults with severe falciparum malaria were analysed retrospectively to determine the relationship between a patient's platelet count on admission to hospital and their subsequent clinical course. RESULTS: On admission, 614 patients (94.9%) were thrombocytopenic (platelet count <150 × 10(9)/L) and 328 (50.7%) had a platelet count <50 × 10(9)/L. The admission platelet count was inversely correlated with parasite biomass (estimated from plasma PfHRP2 concentrations, rs = -0.28, P = 0.003), the degree of microvascular sequestration (measured with orthogonal polarizing spectral imaging, rs = -0.31, P = 0.001) and disease severity (the number of World Health Organization severity criteria satisfied by the patient, rs = -0.21, P <0.001). Platelet counts were lower on admission in the patients who died (median: 30 (interquartile range 22 to 52) × 10(9)/L versus 50 (34 to 78) × 10(9)/L in survivors; P <0.001), but did not predict outcome independently from other established laboratory and clinical prognostic indices. The 39 patients (6%) with profound thrombocytopenia (platelet count <20 × 10(9)/L) were more likely to die (odds ratio: 5.00, 95% confidence interval: 2.56 to 9.75) than patients with higher platelet counts, but these high-risk patients could be identified more rapidly with simple bedside clinical assessment. The admission platelet count did not reliably identify the 50 patients (7.7%) with major bleeding during the study. CONCLUSIONS: Thrombocytopenia is a marker of disease severity in adults with falciparum malaria, but has limited utility in prognostication, triage and management.

Barber BE, William T, Grigg MJ, Parameswaran U, Piera KA, Price RN, Yeo TW, Anstey NM. 2015. Parasite biomass-related inflammation, endothelial activation, microvascular dysfunction and disease severity in vivax malaria. PLoS Pathog, 11 (1), pp. e1004558. | Show Abstract | Read more

Plasmodium vivax can cause severe malaria, however its pathogenesis is poorly understood. In contrast to P. falciparum, circulating vivax parasitemia is low, with minimal apparent sequestration in endothelium-lined microvasculature, and pathogenesis thought unrelated to parasite biomass. However, the relationships between vivax disease-severity and total parasite biomass, endothelial autocrine activation and microvascular dysfunction are unknown. We measured circulating parasitemia and markers of total parasite biomass (plasma parasite lactate dehydrogenase [pLDH] and PvLDH) in adults with severe (n = 9) and non-severe (n = 53) vivax malaria, and examined relationships with disease-severity, endothelial activation, and microvascular function. Healthy controls and adults with non-severe and severe falciparum malaria were enrolled for comparison. Median peripheral parasitemia, PvLDH and pLDH were 2.4-fold, 3.7-fold and 6.9-fold higher in severe compared to non-severe vivax malaria (p = 0.02, p = 0.02 and p = 0.015, respectively), suggesting that, as in falciparum malaria, peripheral P. vivax parasitemia underestimates total parasite biomass, particularly in severe disease. P. vivax schizonts were under-represented in peripheral blood. Severe vivax malaria was associated with increased angiopoietin-2 and impaired microvascular reactivity. Peripheral vivax parasitemia correlated with endothelial activation (angiopoietin-2, von-Willebrand-Factor [VWF], E-selectin), whereas markers of total vivax biomass correlated only with systemic inflammation (IL-6, IL-10). Activity of the VWF-cleaving-protease, ADAMTS13, was deficient in proportion to endothelial activation, IL-6, thrombocytopenia and vivax disease-severity, and associated with impaired microvascular reactivity in severe disease. Impaired microvascular reactivity correlated with lactate in severe vivax malaria. Findings suggest that tissue accumulation of P. vivax may occur, with the hidden biomass greatest in severe disease and capable of mediating systemic inflammatory pathology. The lack of association between total parasite biomass and endothelial activation is consistent with accumulation in parts of the circulation devoid of endothelium. Endothelial activation, associated with circulating parasites, and systemic inflammation may contribute to pathology in vivax malaria, with microvascular dysfunction likely contributing to impaired tissue perfusion.

White NJ, Ashley EA, Recht J, Delves MJ, Ruecker A, Smithuis FM, Eziefula AC, Bousema T, Drakeley C, Chotivanich K et al. 2014. Assessment of therapeutic responses to gametocytocidal drugs in Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Malar J, 13 (1), pp. 483. | Show Abstract | Read more

Indirect clinical measures assessing anti-malarial drug transmission-blocking activity in falciparum malaria include measurement of the duration of gametocytaemia, the rate of gametocyte clearance or the area under the gametocytaemia-time curve (AUC). These may provide useful comparative information, but they underestimate dose-response relationships for transmission-blocking activity. Following 8-aminoquinoline administration P. falciparum gametocytes are sterilized within hours, whereas clearance from blood takes days. Gametocytaemia AUC and clearance times are determined predominantly by the more numerous female gametocytes, which are generally less drug sensitive than the minority male gametocytes, whereas transmission-blocking activity and thus infectivity is determined by the more sensitive male forms. In choosing doses of transmission-blocking drugs there is no substitute yet for mosquito-feeding studies.

Douglas NM, Pontororing GJ, Lampah DA, Yeo TW, Kenangalem E, Poespoprodjo JR, Ralph AP, Bangs MJ, Sugiarto P, Anstey NM, Price RN. 2014. Mortality attributable to Plasmodium vivax malaria: a clinical audit from Papua, Indonesia. BMC Med, 12 (1), pp. 217. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Plasmodium vivax causes almost half of all malaria cases in Asia and is recognised as a significant cause of morbidity. In recent years it has been associated with severe and fatal disease. The extent to which P. vivax contributes to death is not known. METHODS: To define the epidemiology of mortality attributable to vivax malaria in southern Papua, Indonesia, a retrospective clinical records-based audit was conducted of all deaths in patients with vivax malaria at a tertiary referral hospital. RESULTS: Between January 2004 and September 2009, hospital surveillance identified 3,495 inpatients with P. vivax monoinfection and 65 (1.9%) patients who subsequently died. Charts for 54 of these 65 patients could be reviewed, 40 (74%) of whom had pure P. vivax infections on cross-checking. Using pre-defined conservative criteria, vivax malaria was the primary cause of death in 6 cases, a major contributor in 17 cases and a minor contributor in a further 13 cases. Extreme anaemia was the most common primary cause of death. Malnutrition, sepsis with respiratory and gastrointestinal manifestations, and chronic diseases were the commonest attributed causes of death for patients in the latter two categories. There were an estimated 293,763 cases of pure P. vivax infection in the community during the study period giving an overall minimum case fatality of 0.12 per 1,000 infections. The corresponding case fatality in hospitalised patients was 10.3 per 1,000 infections. CONCLUSIONS: Although uncommonly directly fatal, vivax malaria is an important indirect cause of death in southern Papua in patients with malnutrition, sepsis syndrome and chronic diseases, including HIV infection.

Price RN, von Seidlein L, Valecha N, Nosten F, Baird JK, White NJ. 2014. Global extent of chloroquine-resistant Plasmodium vivax: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet Infect Dis, 14 (10), pp. 982-991. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Chloroquine is the first-line treatment for Plasmodium vivax malaria in most endemic countries, but resistance is increasing. Monitoring of antimalarial efficacy is essential, but in P. vivax infections the assessment of treatment efficacy is confounded by relapse from the dormant liver stages. We systematically reviewed P. vivax malaria treatment efficacy studies to establish the global extent of chloroquine resistance. METHODS: We searched Medline, Web of Science, Embase, and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews to identify studies published in English between Jan 1, 1960, and April 30, 2014, which investigated antimalarial treatment efficacy in P. vivax malaria. We excluded studies that did not include supervised schizonticidal treatment without primaquine. We determined rates of chloroquine resistance according to P. vivax malaria recurrence rates by day 28 whole-blood chloroquine concentrations at the time of recurrence and study enrolment criteria. FINDINGS: We identified 129 eligible clinical trials involving 21,694 patients at 179 study sites and 26 case reports describing 54 patients. Chloroquine resistance was present in 58 (53%) of 113 assessable study sites, spread across most countries that are endemic for P. vivax. Clearance of parasitaemia assessed by microscopy in 95% of patients by day 2, or all patients by day 3, was 100% predictive of chloroquine sensitivity. INTERPRETATION: Heterogeneity of study design and analysis has confounded global surveillance of chloroquine-resistant P. vivax, which is now present across most countries endemic for P. vivax. Improved methods for monitoring of drug resistance are needed to inform antimalarial policy in these regions. FUNDING: Wellcome Trust (UK).

Lampah DA, Yeo TW, Malloy M, Kenangalem E, Douglas NM, Ronaldo D, Sugiarto P, Simpson JA, Poespoprodjo JR, Anstey NM, Price RN. 2015. Severe malarial thrombocytopenia: a risk factor for mortality in Papua, Indonesia. J Infect Dis, 211 (4), pp. 623-634. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The significance of thrombocytopenia to the morbidity and mortality of malaria is poorly defined. We compared the platelet counts and clinical correlates of patients with and those without malaria in southern Papua, Indonesia. METHODS: Data were collated on patients presenting to a referral hospital between April 2004 and December 2012. RESULTS: Platelet measurements were available in 215 479 patients (23.4%), 66 421 (30.8%) of whom had clinical malaria. Patients with Plasmodium falciparum monoinfection had the lowest platelet counts and greatest risk of severe thrombocytopenia (platelet count, <50,000 platelets/µL), compared with those without malaria (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 6.03; 95% confidence interval [CI], 5.77-6.30]). The corresponding risks were 5.4 (95% CI, 5.02-5.80) for mixed infections, 3.73 (95% CI, 3.51-3.97) for Plasmodium vivax infection, and 2.16 (95% CI, 1.78-2.63) for Plasmodium malariae infection (P<.001). In total, 1.3% of patients (2701 of 215 479) died. Patients with severe malarial anemia alone (hemoglobin level, <5 g/dL) had an adjusted OR for death of 4.93 (95% CI, 3.79-6.42), those with severe malarial thrombocytopenia alone had an adjusted OR of 2.77 (95% CI, 2.20-3.48), and those with both risk factors had an adjusted OR of 13.76 (95% CI, 10.22-18.54; P<.001). CONCLUSIONS: Severe thrombocytopenia identifies both children and adults at increased risk of death from falciparum or vivax malaria, particularly in those with concurrent severe anemia.

Simpson JA, Zaloumis S, DeLivera AM, Price RN, McCaw JM. 2014. Making the most of clinical data: reviewing the role of pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic models of anti-malarial drugs. AAPS J, 16 (5), pp. 962-974. | Show Abstract | Read more

Mechanistic within-host models integrating blood anti-malarial drug concentrations with the parasite-time profile provide a valuable decision tool for determining dosing regimens for anti-malarial treatments, as well as a formative component of population-level drug resistance models. We reviewed published anti-malarial pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic models to identify the challenges for these complex models where parameter estimation from clinical field data is limited. The inclusion of key pharmacodynamic processes in the mechanistic structure adopted varies considerably. These include the life cycle of the parasite within the red blood cell, the action of the anti-malarial on a specific stage of the life cycle, and the reduction in parasite growth associated with immunity. With regard to estimation of the pharmacodynamic parameters, the majority of studies simply compared descriptive summaries of the simulated outputs to published observations of host and parasite responses from clinical studies. Few studies formally estimated the pharmacodynamic parameters within a rigorous statistical framework using observed individual patient data. We recommend three steps in the development and evaluation of these models. Firstly, exploration through simulation to assess how the different parameters influence the parasite dynamics. Secondly, application of a simulation-estimation approach to determine whether the model parameters can be estimated with reasonable precision based on sampling designs that mimic clinical efficacy studies. Thirdly, fitting the mechanistic model to the clinical data within a Bayesian framework. We propose that authors present the model both schematically and in equation form and give a detailed description of each parameter, including a biological interpretation of the parameter estimates.

Edwards LJ, Price RN, Krause VL, Huffam SE, Globan M, Fyfe J, Hajkowicz KM. 2014. Detection of Mycobacterium leprae by PCR testing of sputa from a patient with pulmonary cryptococcus coinfection in northern Australia. J Clin Microbiol, 52 (10), pp. 3811-3812. | Show Abstract | Read more

A case of fever, sepsis, and chest lesions evident on a computed tomography scan of an indigenous man in northern Australia following burns to the feet is described. Sputum PCR testing revealed Mycobacterium leprae, and a fine-needle aspirate of the chest lesions demonstrated Cryptococcus coinfection.

Venkatesan M, Gadalla NB, Stepniewska K, Dahal P, Nsanzabana C, Moriera C, Price RN, Mårtensson A, Rosenthal PJ, Dorsey G 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.

Liu Y, Auburn S, Cao J, Trimarsanto H, Zhou H, Gray KA, Clark TG, Price RN, Cheng Q, Huang R, Gao Q. 2014. Genetic diversity and population structure of Plasmodium vivax in Central China. Malar J, 13 (1), pp. 262. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: In Central China the declining incidence of Plasmodium vivax has been interrupted by epidemic expansions and imported cases. The impact of these changes on the local parasite population, and concurrent risks of future resurgence, was assessed. METHODS: Plasmodium vivax isolates collected from Anhui and Jiangsu provinces, Central China between 2007 and 2010 were genotyped using capillary electrophoresis at seven polymorphic short tandem repeat markers. Spatial and temporal analyses of within-host and population diversity, population structure, and relatedness were conducted on these isolates. RESULTS: Polyclonal infections were infrequent in the 94 isolates from Anhui (4%) and 25 from Jiangsu (12%), with a trend for increasing frequency from 2008 to 2010 (2 to 19%) when combined. Population diversity was high in both provinces and across the years tested (H(E) = 0.8 - 0.85). Differentiation between Anhui and Jiangsu was modest (F'(ST) = 0.1). Several clusters of isolates with identical multi-locus haplotypes were observed across both Anhui and Jiangsu. Linkage disequilibrium was strong in both populations and in each year tested (I(A)(S) = 0.2 - 0.4), but declined two- to four-fold when identical haplotypes were accounted for, indicative of occasional epidemic transmission dynamics. None of five imported isolates shared identical haplotypes to any of the central Chinese isolates. CONCLUSIONS: The population genetic structure of P. vivax in Central China highlights unstable transmission, with limited barriers to gene flow between the central provinces. Despite low endemicity, population diversity remained high, but the reservoirs sustaining this diversity remain unclear. The challenge of imported cases and risks of resurgence emphasize the need for continued surveillance to detect early warning signals. Although parasite genotyping has potential to inform the management of outbreaks, further studies are required to identify suitable marker panels for resolving local from imported P. vivax isolates.

Kuhen KL, Chatterjee AK, Rottmann M, Gagaring K, Borboa R, Buenviaje J, Chen Z, Francek C, Wu T, Nagle A et al. 2014. KAF156 is an antimalarial clinical candidate with potential for use in prophylaxis, treatment, and prevention of disease transmission. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 58 (9), pp. 5060-5067. | Show Abstract | Read more

Renewed global efforts toward malaria eradication have highlighted the need for novel antimalarial agents with activity against multiple stages of the parasite life cycle. We have previously reported the discovery of a novel class of antimalarial compounds in the imidazolopiperazine series that have activity in the prevention and treatment of blood stage infection in a mouse model of malaria. Consistent with the previously reported activity profile of this series, the clinical candidate KAF156 shows blood schizonticidal activity with 50% inhibitory concentrations of 6 to 17.4 nM against P. falciparum drug-sensitive and drug-resistant strains, as well as potent therapeutic activity in a mouse models of malaria with 50, 90, and 99% effective doses of 0.6, 0.9, and 1.4 mg/kg, respectively. When administered prophylactically in a sporozoite challenge mouse model, KAF156 is completely protective as a single oral dose of 10 mg/kg. Finally, KAF156 displays potent Plasmodium transmission blocking activities both in vitro and in vivo. Collectively, our data suggest that KAF156, currently under evaluation in clinical trials, has the potential to treat, prevent, and block the transmission of malaria.

Yeo TW, Lampah DA, Kenangalem E, Tjitra E, Weinberg JB, Granger DL, Price RN, Anstey NM. 2014. Decreased endothelial nitric oxide bioavailability, impaired microvascular function, and increased tissue oxygen consumption in children with falciparum malaria. J Infect Dis, 210 (10), pp. 1627-1632. | Show Abstract | Read more

Endothelial nitric oxide (NO) bioavailability, microvascular function, and host oxygen consumption have not been assessed in pediatric malaria. We measured NO-dependent endothelial function by using peripheral artery tonometry to determine the reactive hyperemia index (RHI), and microvascular function and oxygen consumption (VO2) using near infrared resonance spectroscopy in 13 Indonesian children with severe falciparum malaria and 15 with moderately severe falciparum malaria. Compared with 19 controls, children with severe malaria and those with moderately severe malaria had lower RHIs (P = .03); 12% and 8% lower microvascular function, respectively (P = .03); and 29% and 25% higher VO2, respectively. RHIs correlated with microvascular function in all children with malaria (P < .001) and all with severe malaria (P < .001). Children with malaria have decreased endothelial and microvascular function and increased oxygen consumption, likely contributing to the pathogenesis of the disease.

Price RN. 2014. Improving the radical cure of Plasmodium vivax malaria. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 91 (1), pp. 3-4. | Read more

Poespoprodjo JR, Fobia W, Kenangalem E, Lampah DA, Sugiarto P, Tjitra E, Anstey NM, Price RN. 2014. Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine treatment of multidrug resistant falciparum and vivax malaria in pregnancy. PLoS One, 9 (1), pp. e84976. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) is recommended for the treatment of multidrug resistant malaria in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, but the experience with ACTs is limited. We review the exposure of pregnant women to the combination dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine over a 6 year period. METHODS: From April 2004-June 2009, a prospective hospital-based surveillance screened all pregnant women for malaria and documented maternal and neonatal outcomes. RESULTS: Data were available on 6519 pregnant women admitted to hospital; 332 (5.1%) women presented in the first trimester, 324 (5.0%) in the second, 5843 (89.6%) in the third, and in 20 women the trimester was undocumented. Peripheral parasitaemia was confirmed in 1682 women, of whom 106 (6.3%) had severe malaria. Of the 1217 women admitted with malaria in the second and third trimesters without an impending adverse outcome, those treated with DHP were more likely to be discharged with an ongoing pregnancy compared to those treated with a non-ACT regimen (Odds Ratio OR = 2.48 [1.26-4.86]); p = 0.006. However in the first trimester 63% (5/8) of women treated with oral DHP miscarried compared to 2.6% (1/38) of those receiving oral quinine; p<0.001. Of the 847 women admitted for delivery those reporting a history of malaria during their pregnancy who had been treated with quinine-based regimens rather than DHP had a higher risk of malaria at delivery (adjusted OR = 1.56 (95%CI 0.97-2.5), p = 0.068) and perinatal mortality (adjusted OR = 3.17 [95%CI: 1.17-8.60]; p = 0.023). CONCLUSIONS: In the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, a three day course of DHP simplified antimalarial treatment and had significant benefits over quinine-based regimens in reducing recurrent malaria and poor fetal outcome. These data provide reassuring evidence for the rational design of prospective randomized clinical trials and pharmacokinetic studies.

Vaidya AB, Morrisey JM, Zhang Z, Das S, Daly TM, Otto TD, Spillman NJ, Wyvratt M, Siegl P, Marfurt J et al. 2014. Pyrazoleamide compounds are potent antimalarials that target Na+ homeostasis in intraerythrocytic Plasmodium falciparum. Nat Commun, 5 pp. 5521. | Show Abstract | Read more

The quest for new antimalarial drugs, especially those with novel modes of action, is essential in the face of emerging drug-resistant parasites. Here we describe a new chemical class of molecules, pyrazoleamides, with potent activity against human malaria parasites and showing remarkably rapid parasite clearance in an in vivo model. Investigations involving pyrazoleamide-resistant parasites, whole-genome sequencing and gene transfers reveal that mutations in two proteins, a calcium-dependent protein kinase (PfCDPK5) and a P-type cation-ATPase (PfATP4), are necessary to impart full resistance to these compounds. A pyrazoleamide compound causes a rapid disruption of Na(+) regulation in blood-stage Plasmodium falciparum parasites. Similar effect on Na(+) homeostasis was recently reported for spiroindolones, which are antimalarials of a chemical class quite distinct from pyrazoleamides. Our results reveal that disruption of Na(+) homeostasis in malaria parasites is a promising mode of antimalarial action mediated by at least two distinct chemical classes.

Zaloumis SG, Tarning J, Krishna S, Price RN, White NJ, Davis TM, McCaw JM, Olliaro P, Maude RJ, Kremsner P et al. 2014. Population pharmacokinetics of intravenous artesunate: a pooled analysis of individual data from patients with severe malaria. CPT Pharmacometrics Syst Pharmacol, 3 (11), pp. e145. | Show Abstract | Read more

There are ~660,000 deaths from severe malaria each year. Intravenous artesunate (i.v. ARS) is the first-line treatment in adults and children. To optimize the dosing regimen of i.v. ARS, the largest pooled population pharmacokinetic study to date of the active metabolite dihydroartemisinin (DHA) was performed. The pooled dataset consisted of 71 adults and 195 children with severe malaria, with a mixture of sparse and rich sampling within the first 12 h after drug administration. A one-compartment model described the population pharmacokinetics of DHA adequately. Body weight had the greatest impact on DHA pharmacokinetics, resulting in lower DHA exposure for smaller children (6-10 kg) than adults. Post hoc estimates of DHA exposure were not significantly associated with parasitological outcomes. Comparable DHA exposure in smaller children and adults after i.v. ARS was achieved under a dose modification for intramuscular ARS proposed in a separate analysis of children.

Simpson JA, Zaloumis S, Delivera AM, Price RN, McCaw JM. 2014. Making the most of clinical data: Reviewing the role of pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic models of anti-malarial drugs AAPS Journal, 16 (5), pp. 962-974. | Show Abstract | Read more

Mechanistic within-host models integrating blood anti-malarial drug concentrations with the parasite-time profile provide a valuable decision tool for determining dosing regimens for anti-malarial treatments, as well as a formative component of population-level drug resistance models. We reviewed published anti-malarial pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic models to identify the challenges for these complex models where parameter estimation from clinical field data is limited. The inclusion of key pharmacodynamic processes in the mechanistic structure adopted varies considerably. These include the life cycle of the parasite within the red blood cell, the action of the anti-malarial on a specific stage of the life cycle, and the reduction in parasite growth associated with immunity. With regard to estimation of the pharmacodynamic parameters, the majority of studies simply compared descriptive summaries of the simulated outputs to published observations of host and parasite responses from clinical studies. Few studies formally estimated the pharmacodynamic parameters within a rigorous statistical framework using observed individual patient data. We recommend three steps in the development and evaluation of these models. Firstly, exploration through simulation to assess how the different parameters influence the parasite dynamics. Secondly, application of a simulation- estimation approach to determine whether the model parameters can be estimated with reasonable precision based on sampling designs that mimic clinical efficacy studies. Thirdly, fitting the mechanistic model to the clinical data within a Bayesian framework. We propose that authors present the model both schematically and in equation form and give a detailed description of each parameter, including a biological interpretation of the parameter estimates. © 2014 American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists.

Grigg MJ, William T, Dhanaraj P, Menon J, Barber BE, von Seidlein L, Rajahram G, Price RN, Anstey NM, Yeo TW. 2014. A study protocol for a randomised open-label clinical trial of artesunate-mefloquine versus chloroquine in patients with non-severe Plasmodium knowlesi malaria in Sabah, Malaysia (ACT KNOW trial). BMJ Open, 4 (8), pp. e006005. | Show Abstract | Read more

INTRODUCTION: Malaria due to Plasmodium knowlesi is reported throughout South-East Asia, and is the commonest cause of it in Malaysia. P. knowlesi replicates every 24 h and can cause severe disease and death. Current 2010 WHO Malaria Treatment Guidelines have no recommendations for the optimal treatment of non-severe knowlesi malaria. Artemisinin-combination therapies (ACT) and chloroquine have each been successfully used to treat knowlesi malaria; however, the rapidity of parasite clearance has not been prospectively compared. Malaysia's national policy for malaria pre-elimination involves mandatory hospital admission for confirmed malaria cases with discharge only after two negative blood films; use of a more rapidly acting antimalarial agent would have health cost benefits. P. knowlesi is commonly microscopically misreported as P. malariae, P. falciparum or P. vivax, with a high proportion of the latter two species being chloroquine-resistant in Malaysia. A unified ACT-treatment protocol would provide effective blood stage malaria treatment for all Plasmodium species. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: ACT KNOW, the first randomised controlled trial ever performed in knowlesi malaria, is a two-arm open-label trial with enrolments over a 2-year period at three district sites in Sabah, powered to show a difference in proportion of patients negative for malaria by microscopy at 24 h between treatment arms (clinicaltrials.gov #NCT01708876). Enrolments started in December 2012, with completion expected by September 2014. A total sample size of 228 is required to give 90% power (α 0.05) to determine the primary end point using intention-to-treat analysis. Secondary end points include parasite clearance time, rates of recurrent infection/treatment failure to day 42, gametocyte carriage throughout follow-up and rates of anaemia at day 28, as determined by survival analysis. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: This study has been approved by relevant institutional ethics committees in Malaysia and Australia. Results will be disseminated to inform knowlesi malaria treatment policy in this region through peer-reviewed publications and academic presentations. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: NCT01708876.

Price RN, Nosten F. 2014. Single-dose radical cure of Plasmodium vivax: A step closer The Lancet, 383 (9922), pp. 1020-1021. | Read more

Hanson J, Lee SJ, Mohanty S, Faiz MA, Anstey NM, Price RN, Charunwatthana P, Yunus EB, Mishra SK, Tjitra E et al. 2014. Rapid clinical assessment to facilitate the triage of adults with falciparum malaria, a retrospective analysis. PLoS One, 9 (1), pp. e87020. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Most adults dying from falciparum malaria will die within 48 hours of their hospitalisation. An essential component of early supportive care is the rapid identification of patients at greatest risk. In resource-poor settings, where most patients with falciparum malaria are managed, decisions regarding patient care must frequently be made using clinical evaluation alone. METHODS: We retrospectively analysed 4 studies of 1801 adults with severe falciparum malaria to determine whether the presence of simple clinical findings might assist patient triage. RESULTS: If present on admission, shock, oligo-anuria, hypo- or hyperglycaemia, an increased respiratory rate, a decreased Glasgow Coma Score and an absence of fever were independently predictive of death. The variables were used to construct a simple clinical algorithm. When applied to the 1801 patients, this algorithm's positive predictive value for survival to 48 hours was 99.4 (95% confidence interval (CI) 97.8-99.9) and for survival to discharge 96.9% (95% CI 94.3-98.5). In the 712 patients receiving artesunate, the algorithm's positive predictive value for survival to 48 hours was 100% (95% CI 97.3-100) and to discharge was 98.5% (95% CI 94.8-99.8). CONCLUSIONS: Simple clinical findings are closely linked to the pathophysiology of severe falciparum malaria in adults. A basic algorithm employing these indices can facilitate the triage of patients in settings where intensive care services are limited. Patients classified as low-risk by this algorithm can be safely managed initially on a general ward whilst awaiting senior clinical review and laboratory data.

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Achan J, Adam I, Arinaitwe E, Ashley EA, Awab GR, Ba MS, Barnes KI, Bassat Q, Borrmann S, Bousema T 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.

Douglas NM, Lampah DA, Kenangalem E, Simpson JA, Poespoprodjo JR, Sugiarto P, Anstey NM, Price RN. 2013. Major burden of severe anemia from non-falciparum malaria species in Southern Papua: a hospital-based surveillance study. PLoS Med, 10 (12), pp. e1001575. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The burden of anemia attributable to non-falciparum malarias in regions with Plasmodium co-endemicity is poorly documented. We compared the hematological profile of patients with and without malaria in southern Papua, Indonesia. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Clinical and laboratory data were linked for all patients presenting to a referral hospital between April 2004 and December 2012. Data were available on patient demographics, malaria diagnosis, hemoglobin concentration, and clinical outcome, but other potential causes of anemia could not be identified reliably. Of 922,120 patient episodes (837,989 as outpatients and 84,131 as inpatients), a total of 219,845 (23.8%) were associated with a hemoglobin measurement, of whom 67,696 (30.8%) had malaria. Patients with P. malariae infection had the lowest hemoglobin concentration (n = 1,608, mean = 8.93 [95% CI 8.81-9.06]), followed by those with mixed species infections (n = 8,645, mean = 9.22 [95% CI 9.16-9.28]), P. falciparum (n = 37,554, mean = 9.47 [95% CI 9.44-9.50]), and P. vivax (n = 19,858, mean = 9.53 [95% CI 9.49-9.57]); p-value for all comparisons <0.001. Severe anemia (hemoglobin <5 g/dl) was present in 8,151 (3.7%) patients. Compared to patients without malaria, those with mixed Plasmodium infection were at greatest risk of severe anemia (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 3.25 [95% CI 2.99-3.54]); AORs for severe anaemia associated with P. falciparum, P. vivax, and P. malariae were 2.11 (95% CI 2.00-2.23), 1.87 (95% CI 1.74-2.01), and 2.18 (95% CI 1.76-2.67), respectively, p<0.001. Overall, 12.2% (95% CI 11.2%-13.3%) of severe anemia was attributable to non-falciparum infections compared with 15.1% (95% CI 13.9%-16.3%) for P. falciparum monoinfections. Patients with severe anemia had an increased risk of death (AOR = 5.80 [95% CI 5.17-6.50]; p<0.001). Not all patients had a hemoglobin measurement, thus limitations of the study include the potential for selection bias, and possible residual confounding in multivariable analyses. CONCLUSIONS: In Papua P. vivax is the dominant cause of severe anemia in early infancy, mixed P. vivax/P. falciparum infections are associated with a greater hematological impairment than either species alone, and in adulthood P. malariae, although rare, is associated with the lowest hemoglobin concentration. These findings highlight the public health importance of integrated genus-wide malaria control strategies in areas of Plasmodium co-endemicity.

Ralph AP, Yeo TW, Salome CM, Waramori G, Pontororing GJ, Kenangalem E, Sandjaja, Tjitra E, Lumb R, Maguire GP et al. 2013. Impaired pulmonary nitric oxide bioavailability in pulmonary tuberculosis: association with disease severity and delayed mycobacterial clearance with treatment. J Infect Dis, 208 (4), pp. 616-626. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Nitric oxide (NO), a key macrophage antimycobacterial mediator that ameliorates immunopathology, is measurable in exhaled breath in individuals with pulmonary tuberculosis. We investigated relationships between fractional exhale NO (FENO) and initial pulmonary tuberculosis severity, change during treatment, and relationship with conversion of sputum culture to negative at 2 months. METHODS: In Papua, we measured FENO in patients with pulmonary tuberculosis at baseline and serially over 6 months and once in healthy controls. Treatment outcomes were conversion of sputum culture results at 2 months and time to conversion of sputum microscopy results. RESULTS: Among 200 patients with pulmonary tuberculosis and 88 controls, FENO was lower for patients with pulmonary tuberculosis at diagnosis (geometric mean FENO, 12.7 parts per billion [ppb]; 95% confidence interval [CI], 11.6-13.8) than for controls (geometric mean FENO, 16.6 ppb; 95% CI, 14.2-19.5; P = .002), fell further after treatment initiation (nadir at 1 week), and then recovered by 6 months (P = .03). Lower FENO was associated with more-severe tuberculosis disease, with FENO directly proportional to weight (P < .001) and forced vital-capacity (P = .001) and inversely proportional to radiological score (P = .03). People whose FENO increased or remained unchanged by 2 months were 2.7-fold more likely to achieve conversion of sputum culture than those whose FENO decreased (odds ratio, 2.72; 95% CI, 1.05-7.12; P = .04). CONCLUSIONS: Among patients with pulmonary tuberculosis, impaired pulmonary NO bioavailability is associated with more-severe disease and delayed mycobacterial clearance. Measures to increase pulmonary NO warrant investigation as adjunctive tuberculosis treatments.

Ralph AP, Waramori G, Pontororing GJ, Kenangalem E, Wiguna A, Tjitra E, Sandjaja, Lolong DB, Yeo TW, Chatfield MD et al. 2013. L-arginine and vitamin D adjunctive therapies in pulmonary tuberculosis: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. PLoS One, 8 (8), pp. e70032. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Vitamin D (vitD) and L-arginine have important antimycobacterial effects in humans. Adjunctive therapy with these agents has the potential to improve outcomes in active tuberculosis (TB). METHODS: In a 4-arm randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled factorial trial in adults with smear-positive pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) in Timika, Indonesia, we tested the effect of oral adjunctive vitD 50,000 IU 4-weekly or matching placebo, and L-arginine 6.0 g daily or matching placebo, for 8 weeks, on proportions of participants with negative 4-week sputum culture, and on an 8-week clinical score (weight, FEV1, cough, sputum, haemoptysis). All participants with available endpoints were included in analyses according to the study arm to which they were originally assigned. Adults with new smear-positive PTB were eligible. The trial was registered at ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00677339. RESULTS: 200 participants were enrolled, less than the intended sample size: 50 received L-arginine + active vitD, 49 received L-arginine + placebo vit D, 51 received placebo L-arginine + active vitD and 50 received placebo L-arginine + placebo vitD. According to the factorial model, 99 people received arginine, 101 placebo arginine, 101 vitamin D, 99 placebo vitamin D. Results for the primary endpoints were available in 155 (4-week culture) and 167 (clinical score) participants. Sputum culture conversion was achieved by week 4 in 48/76 (63%) participants in the active L-arginine versus 48/79 (61%) in placebo L-arginine arms (risk difference -3%, 95% CI -19 to 13%), and in 44/75 (59%) in the active vitD versus 52/80 (65%) in the placebo vitD arms (risk difference 7%, 95% CI -9 to 22%). The mean clinical outcome score also did not differ between study arms. There were no effects of the interventions on adverse event rates including hypercalcaemia, or other secondary outcomes. CONCLUSION: Neither vitD nor L-arginine supplementation, at the doses administered and with the power attained, affected TB outcomes. REGISTRY: ClinicalTrials.gov. Registry number: NCT00677339.

Yeo TW, Lampah DA, Kenangalem E, Tjitra E, Price RN, Anstey NM. 2013. Increased carboxyhemoglobin in adult falciparum malaria is associated with disease severity and mortality. J Infect Dis, 208 (5), pp. 813-817. | Show Abstract | Read more

Heme oxygenase 1 expression is increased in pediatric patients with malaria. The carboxyhemoglobin level (a measure of heme oxygenase 1 activity) has not been assessed in adult patients with malaria. Results of pulse co-oximetry revealed that the mean carboxyhemoglobin level was elevated in 29 Indonesian adults with severe falciparum malaria (10%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 8%-13%) and in 20 with severe sepsis (8%; 95% CI, 5%-12%), compared with the mean levels in 32 patients with moderately severe malaria (7%; 95% CI, 5%-8%) and 36 controls (3.6%; 95% CI, 3%-5%; P < .001). An increased carboxyhemoglobin level was associated with an increased odds of death among patients with severe malaria (odds ratio, 1.2 per percentage point increase; 95% CI, 1.02-1.5). While also associated with severity and fatality, methemoglobin was only modestly increased in patients with severe malaria. Increased carboxyhemoglobin levels during severe malaria and sepsis may exacerbate organ dysfunction by reducing oxygen carriage and cautions against the use of adjunctive CO therapy, which was proposed on the basis of mouse models.

Douglas NM, Simpson JA, Phyo AP, Siswantoro H, Hasugian AR, Kenangalem E, Poespoprodjo JR, Singhasivanon P, Anstey NM, White NJ et al. 2013. Gametocyte dynamics and the role of drugs in reducing the transmission potential of Plasmodium vivax. J Infect Dis, 208 (5), pp. 801-812. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Designing interventions that will reduce transmission of vivax malaria requires knowledge of Plasmodium vivax gametocyte dynamics. METHODS: We analyzed data from a randomized controlled trial in northwestern Thailand and 2 trials in Papua, Indonesia, to identify and compare risk factors for vivax gametocytemia at enrollment and following treatment. RESULTS: A total of 492 patients with P. vivax infections from Thailand and 476 patients (162 with concurrent falciparum parasitemia) from Indonesia were evaluable. Also, 84.3% (415/492) and 66.6% (209/314) of patients with monoinfection were gametocytemic at enrollment, respectively. The ratio of gametocytemia to asexual parasitemia did not differ between acute and recurrent infections (P = .48 in Thailand, P = .08 in Indonesia). High asexual parasitemia was associated with an increased risk of gametocytemia during follow-up in both locations. In Thailand, the cumulative incidence of gametocytemia between day 7 and day 42 following dihydroartemisinin + piperaquine (DHA + PIP) was 6.92% vs 29.1% following chloroquine (P < .001). In Indonesia, the incidence of gametocytemia was 33.6% following artesunate + amodiaquine (AS + AQ), 7.42% following artemether + lumefantrine, and 6.80% following DHA + PIP (P < .001 for DHA + PIP vs AS + AQ). CONCLUSIONS: P. vivax gametocyte carriage mirrors asexual-stage infection. Prevention of relapses, particularly in those with high asexual parasitemia, is likely the most important strategy for interrupting P. vivax transmission.

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.

Nilsen A, LaCrue AN, White KL, Forquer IP, Cross RM, Marfurt J, Mather MW, Delves MJ, Shackleford DM, Saenz FE et al. 2013. Quinolone-3-diarylethers: a new class of antimalarial drug. Sci Transl Med, 5 (177), pp. 177ra37. | Show Abstract | Read more

The goal for developing new antimalarial drugs is to find a molecule that can target multiple stages of the parasite's life cycle, thus impacting prevention, treatment, and transmission of the disease. The 4(1H)-quinolone-3-diarylethers are selective potent inhibitors of the parasite's mitochondrial cytochrome bc1 complex. These compounds are highly active against the human malaria parasites Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax. They target both the liver and blood stages of the parasite as well as the forms that are crucial for disease transmission, that is, the gametocytes, the zygote, the ookinete, and the oocyst. Selected as a preclinical candidate, ELQ-300 has good oral bioavailability at efficacious doses in mice, is metabolically stable, and is highly active in blocking transmission in rodent models of malaria. Given its predicted low dose in patients and its predicted long half-life, ELQ-300 has potential as a new drug for the treatment, prevention, and, ultimately, eradication of human malaria.

Price RN. 2013. Potential of artemisinin-based combination therapies to block malaria transmission. J Infect Dis, 207 (11), pp. 1627-1629. | Read more

Abdullah NR, Barber BE, William T, Norahmad NA, Satsu UR, Muniandy PK, Ismail Z, Grigg MJ, Jelip J, Piera K et al. 2013. Plasmodium vivax population structure and transmission dynamics in Sabah Malaysia. PLoS One, 8 (12), pp. e82553. | Show Abstract | Read more

Despite significant progress in the control of malaria in Malaysia, the complex transmission dynamics of P. vivax continue to challenge national efforts to achieve elimination. To assess the impact of ongoing interventions on P. vivax transmission dynamics in Sabah, we genotyped 9 short tandem repeat markers in a total of 97 isolates (8 recurrences) from across Sabah, with a focus on two districts, Kota Marudu (KM, n = 24) and Kota Kinabalu (KK, n = 21), over a 2 year period. STRUCTURE analysis on the Sabah-wide dataset demonstrated multiple sub-populations. Significant differentiation (F ST  = 0.243) was observed between KM and KK, located just 130 Km apart. Consistent with low endemic transmission, infection complexity was modest in both KM (mean MOI  = 1.38) and KK (mean MOI  = 1.19). However, population diversity remained moderate (H E  = 0.583 in KM and H E  = 0.667 in KK). Temporal trends revealed clonal expansions reflecting epidemic transmission dynamics. The haplotypes of these isolates declined in frequency over time, but persisted at low frequency throughout the study duration. A diverse array of low frequency isolates were detected in both KM and KK, some likely reflecting remnants of previous expansions. In accordance with clonal expansions, high levels of Linkage Disequilibrium (I A (S) >0.5 [P<0.0001] in KK and KM) declined sharply when identical haplotypes were represented once (I A (S)  = 0.07 [P = 0.0076] in KM, and I A (S) = -0.003 [P = 0.606] in KK). All 8 recurrences, likely to be relapses, were homologous to the prior infection. These recurrences may promote the persistence of parasite lineages, sustaining local diversity. In summary, Sabah's shrinking P. vivax population appears to have rendered this low endemic setting vulnerable to epidemic expansions. Migration may play an important role in the introduction of new parasite strains leading to epidemic expansions, with important implications for malaria elimination.

Jamsen KM, Duffull SB, Tarning J, Price RN, Simpson JA. 2013. A robust design for identification of the Parasite Clearance Estimator. Malar J, 12 (1), pp. 410. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Anti-malarial efficacy needs to be monitored continually to ensure optimal dosing in the face of emerging anti-malarial drug resistance. The efficacy of artemisinin based combination therapies (ACT) is assessed by repeated measurements of parasite density in the blood of patients following treatment. Parasite density is measured from a capillary or venous blood sample, but this can be logistically and ethically challenging if multiple samples are required within a short time period. The aim of this work was to apply optimal design theory to derive clinically feasible blood sampling schedules from which parasite clearance could be defined using the Parasite Clearance Estimator (PCE), a recently developed tool to identify and quantify artemisinin resistance. METHODS: Robust T-optimal design methodology was applied to offer a sampling schedule that allows for discrimination across models that best describe an individual patient's parasite-time profile. The design was based on typical parasite-time profiles derived from the literature combined with key sampling constraints of no more than six samples per patient within 48 hours of initial treatment. The design was evaluated with a simulation-estimation procedure that implemented the PCE. RESULTS: The optimal sampling times (sampling windows) were: 0 (0 to 1.1), 5.8 (4.0 to 6.0), 9.9 (8.4 to 11.5), 24.8 (24.0 to 24.9), 36.3 (34.8 to 37.2) and 48 (47.3, 48.0) hours post initial treatment. The simulation-estimation procedure showed that the design supported identification of the appropriate method by the PCE to determine an individual's parasite clearance rate constant (the main output calculation from the PCE). CONCLUSIONS: The proposed sampling design requires six samples per patient within the first 48 hours. The derived design requires validation in a real world setting, but should be considered for future studies that intend to employ the PCE.

Simpson JA, Jamsen KM, Anderson TJ, Zaloumis S, Nair S, Woodrow C, White NJ, Nosten F, Price RN. 2013. Nonlinear mixed-effects modelling of in vitro drug susceptibility and molecular correlates of multidrug resistant Plasmodium falciparum. PLoS One, 8 (7), pp. e69505. | Show Abstract | Read more

The analysis of in vitro anti-malarial drug susceptibility testing is vulnerable to the effects of different statistical approaches and selection biases. These confounding factors were assessed with respect to pfmdr1 gene mutation and amplification in 490 clinical isolates. Two statistical approaches for estimating the drug concentration associated with 50% effect (EC50 ) were compared: the commonly used standard two-stage (STS) method, and nonlinear mixed-effects modelling. The in vitro concentration-effect relationships for, chloroquine, mefloquine, lumefantrine and artesunate, were derived from clinical isolates obtained from patients on the western border of Thailand. All isolates were genotyped for polymorphisms in the pfmdr1 gene. The EC50 estimates were similar for the two statistical approaches but 15-28% of isolates in the STS method had a high coefficient of variation (>15%) for individual estimates of EC50 and these isolates had EC50 values that were 32 to 66% higher than isolates derived with more precision. In total 41% (202/490) of isolates had amplification of pfmdr1 and single nucleotide polymorphisms were found in 50 (10%). Pfmdr1 amplification was associated with an increase in EC50 for mefloquine (139% relative increase in EC50 for 2 copies, 188% for 3+ copies), lumefantrine (82% and 75% for 2 and 3+ copies respectively) and artesunate (63% and 127% for 2 and 3+ copies respectively). In contrast pfmdr1 mutation at codons 86 or 1042 were associated with an increase in chloroquine EC50 (44-48%). Sample size calculations showed that to demonstrate an EC50 shift of 50% or more with 80% power if the prevalence was 10% would require 430 isolates and 245 isolates if the prevalence was 20%. In conclusion, although nonlinear mixed-effects modelling did not demonstrate any major advantage for determining estimates of anti-malarial drug susceptibility, the method includes all isolates, thereby, potentially improving confirmation of candidate molecular markers of anti-malarial drug susceptibility.

Yeo TW, Lampah DA, Rooslamiati I, Gitawati R, Tjitra E, Kenangalem E, Price RN, Duffull SB, Anstey NM. 2013. A randomized pilot study of L-arginine infusion in severe falciparum malaria: preliminary safety, efficacy and pharmacokinetics. PLoS One, 8 (7), pp. e69587. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Decreased nitric oxide (NO) and hypoargininemia are associated with severe falciparum malaria and may contribute to severe disease. Intravenous L-arginine increases endothelial NO in moderately-severe malaria (MSM) without adverse effects. The safety, efficacy and pharmacokinetics of L-arginine or other agents to improve NO bioavailability in severe malaria have not been assessed. METHODS: In an open-label pilot study of L-arginine in adults with severe malaria (ARGISM-1 Study), patients were randomized to 12 g L-arginine hydrochloride or saline over 8 hours together with intravenous artesunate. Vital signs, selected biochemical measures (including blood lactate and L-arginine) and endothelial NO bioavailability (using reactive hyperemia peripheral arterial tonometry [RH-PAT]) were assessed serially. Pharmacokinetic analyses of L-arginine concentrations were performed using NONMEM. RESULTS: Six patients received L-arginine and two saline infusions. There were no deaths in either group. There were no changes in mean systolic (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) or other vital signs with L-arginine, although a transient but clinically unimportant mean maximal decrease in SBP of 14 mmHg was noted. No significant changes in mean potassium, glucose, bicarbonate, or pH were seen, with transient mean maximal increases in plasma potassium of 0.3 mmol/L, and mean maximal decreases in blood glucose of 0.8 mmol/L and bicarbonate of 2.3 mEq/L following L-arginine administration. There was no effect on lactate clearance or RH-PAT index. Pharmacokinetic modelling (n = 4) showed L-arginine concentrations 40% lower than predicted from models developed in MSM. CONCLUSION: In the first clinical trial of an adjunctive treatment aimed at increasing NO bioavailability in severe malaria, L-arginine infused at 12 g over 8 hours was safe, but did not improve lactate clearance or endothelial NO bioavailability. Future studies may require increased doses of L-arginine. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00616304.

Hay SI, Price RN, Baird JK. 2013. ADVANCES IN PARASITOLOGY PREFACE ADVANCES IN PARASITOLOGY, VOL 81: EPIDEMIOLOGY OF PLASMODIUM VIVAX: HISTORY, HIATUS AND HUBRIS, PT B, 81 pp. XI-XII.

von Seidlein L, Auburn S, Espino F, Shanks D, Cheng Q, McCarthy J, Baird K, Moyes C, Howes R, Ménard D et al. 2013. Review of key knowledge gaps in glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency detection with regard to the safe clinical deployment of 8-aminoquinoline treatment regimens: a workshop report. Malar J, 12 (1), pp. 112. | Show Abstract | Read more

The diagnosis and management of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency is a crucial aspect in the current phases of malaria control and elimination, which will require the wider use of 8-aminoquinolines for both reducing Plasmodium falciparum transmission and achieving the radical cure of Plasmodium vivax. 8-aminoquinolines, such as primaquine, can induce severe haemolysis in G6PD-deficient individuals, potentially creating significant morbidity and undermining confidence in 8-aminoquinoline prescription. On the other hand, erring on the side of safety and excluding large numbers of people with unconfirmed G6PD deficiency from treatment with 8-aminoquinolines will diminish the impact of these drugs. Estimating the remaining G6PD enzyme activity is the most direct, accessible, and reliable assessment of the phenotype and remains the gold standard for the diagnosis of patients who could be harmed by the administration of primaquine. Genotyping seems an unambiguous technique, but its use is limited by cost and the large range of recognized G6PD genotypes. A number of enzyme activity assays diagnose G6PD deficiency, but they require a cold chain, specialized equipment, and laboratory skills. These assays are impractical for care delivery where most patients with malaria live. Improvements to the diagnosis of G6PD deficiency are required for the broader and safer use of 8-aminoquinolines to kill hypnozoites, while lower doses of primaquine may be safely used to kill gametocytes without testing. The discussions and conclusions of a workshop conducted in Incheon, Korea in May 2012 to review key knowledge gaps in G6PD deficiency are reported here.

Hay SI, Price RN, Baird JK. 2013. The epidemiology of Plasmodium vivax. Preface. Adv Parasitol, 81 pp. xi-xii. | Read more

Auburn S, Marfurt J, Maslen G, Campino S, Ruano Rubio V, Manske M, Machunter B, Kenangalem E, Noviyanti R, Trianty L et al. 2013. Effective preparation of Plasmodium vivax field isolates for high-throughput whole genome sequencing. PLoS One, 8 (1), pp. e53160. | Show Abstract | Read more

Whole genome sequencing (WGS) of Plasmodium vivax is problematic due to the reliance on clinical isolates which are generally low in parasitaemia and sample volume. Furthermore, clinical isolates contain a significant contaminating background of host DNA which confounds efforts to map short read sequence of the target P. vivax DNA. Here, we discuss a methodology to significantly improve the success of P. vivax WGS on natural (non-adapted) patient isolates. Using 37 patient isolates from Indonesia, Thailand, and travellers, we assessed the application of CF11-based white blood cell filtration alone and in combination with short term ex vivo schizont maturation. Although CF11 filtration reduced human DNA contamination in 8 Indonesian isolates tested, additional short-term culture increased the P. vivax DNA yield from a median of 0.15 to 6.2 ng µl(-1) packed red blood cells (pRBCs) (p = 0.001) and reduced the human DNA percentage from a median of 33.9% to 6.22% (p = 0.008). Furthermore, post-CF11 and culture samples from Thailand gave a median P. vivax DNA yield of 2.34 ng µl(-1) pRBCs, and 2.65% human DNA. In 22 P. vivax patient isolates prepared with the 2-step method, we demonstrate high depth (median 654X coverage) and breadth (≥89%) of coverage on the Illumina GAII and HiSeq platforms. In contrast to the A+T-rich P. falciparum genome, negligible bias was observed in coverage depth between coding and non-coding regions of the P. vivax genome. This uniform coverage will greatly facilitate the detection of SNPs and copy number variants across the genome, enabling unbiased exploration of the natural diversity in P. vivax populations.

Yeo TW, Lampah DA, Kenangalem E, Tjitra E, Price RN, Anstey NM. 2013. Impaired skeletal muscle microvascular function and increased skeletal muscle oxygen consumption in severe falciparum malaria. J Infect Dis, 207 (3), pp. 528-536. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Organ dysfunction and tissue hypoxia in severe falciparum malaria result from an imbalance between oxygen delivery and demand. In severe malaria, microvascular obstruction from parasite sequestration decreases oxygen delivery. However, host microvascular function (defined as the capacity to increase oxygen delivery in response to ischemia) and oxygen consumption have not been assessed. METHODS: We used near-infrared resonance spectroscopy to measure thenar muscle microvascular function (StO(2)recov) and oxygen consumption (VO(2)) in 36 adults in Papua, Indonesia, with severe malaria, 33 with moderately severe malaria (MSM), 24 with severe sepsis, and 36 healthy controls. RESULTS: In the severe malaria group, the StO(2)recov of 2.7%/second was 16% and 22% lower than that in the MSM group (3.1%/second) and control group (3.5%/second), respectively (P < .001), and comparable to that in the severe sepsis group (2.5%/second). In the severe malaria group, StO(2)recov was inversely correlated with lactate level (r = -0.63; P < .001) and predicted death (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve, 0.71 [95% confidence interval {CI}, .51-.92]), with each percentage decrease associated with an increased odds of mortality (odds ratio, 2.49 [95% CI, 1.05-6.2]). Conversely, VO(2) increased in the severe malaria group by 18%, compared with levels in the control and severe sepsis groups (P < .001), and was associated with parasite biomass (r = 0.49; P = .04). CONCLUSIONS: Impaired microvascular function is associated with increased mortality among individuals with severe malaria, while oxygen consumption is increased. Tissue hypoxia may result not only from microvascular obstruction, but also from impaired ability of the microvasculature to match oxygen delivery to increased oxygen demand.

Price RN, Auburn S, Marfurt J, Cheng Q. 2012. Phenotypic and genotypic characterisation of drug-resistant Plasmodium vivax. Trends Parasitol, 28 (11), pp. 522-529. | Show Abstract | Read more

In this review we present recent developments in the analysis of Plasmodium vivax clinical trials and ex vivo drug-susceptibility assays, as well approaches currently being used to identify molecular markers of drug resistance. Clinical trials incorporating the measurement of in vivo drug concentrations and parasite clearance times are needed to detect early signs of resistance. Analysis of P. vivax growth dynamics ex vivo have defined the criteria for acceptable assay thresholds for drug susceptibility testing, and their subsequent interpretation. Genotyping and next-generation sequencing studies in P. vivax field isolates are set to transform our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of drug resistance.

Gething PW, Elyazar IR, Moyes CL, Smith DL, Battle KE, Guerra CA, Patil AP, Tatem AJ, Howes RE, Myers MF et al. 2012. A long neglected world malaria map: Plasmodium vivax endemicity in 2010. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 6 (9), pp. e1814. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Current understanding of the spatial epidemiology and geographical distribution of Plasmodium vivax is far less developed than that for P. falciparum, representing a barrier to rational strategies for control and elimination. Here we present the first systematic effort to map the global endemicity of this hitherto neglected parasite. METHODOLOGY AND FINDINGS: We first updated to the year 2010 our earlier estimate of the geographical limits of P. vivax transmission. Within areas of stable transmission, an assembly of 9,970 geopositioned P. vivax parasite rate (PvPR) surveys collected from 1985 to 2010 were used with a spatiotemporal Bayesian model-based geostatistical approach to estimate endemicity age-standardised to the 1-99 year age range (PvPR(1-99)) within every 5×5 km resolution grid square. The model incorporated data on Duffy negative phenotype frequency to suppress endemicity predictions, particularly in Africa. Endemicity was predicted within a relatively narrow range throughout the endemic world, with the point estimate rarely exceeding 7% PvPR(1-99). The Americas contributed 22% of the global area at risk of P. vivax transmission, but high endemic areas were generally sparsely populated and the region contributed only 6% of the 2.5 billion people at risk (PAR) globally. In Africa, Duffy negativity meant stable transmission was constrained to Madagascar and parts of the Horn, contributing 3.5% of global PAR. Central Asia was home to 82% of global PAR with important high endemic areas coinciding with dense populations particularly in India and Myanmar. South East Asia contained areas of the highest endemicity in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea and contributed 9% of global PAR. CONCLUSIONS AND SIGNIFICANCE: This detailed depiction of spatially varying endemicity is intended to contribute to a much-needed paradigm shift towards geographically stratified and evidence-based planning for P. vivax control and elimination.

John GK, Douglas NM, von Seidlein L, Nosten F, Baird JK, White NJ, Price RN. 2012. Primaquine radical cure of Plasmodium vivax: a critical review of the literature. Malar J, 11 (1), pp. 280. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Primaquine has been the only widely available hypnozoitocidal anti-malarial drug for half a century. Despite this its clinical efficacy is poorly characterized resulting in a lack of consensus over the optimal regimen for the radical cure of Plasmodium vivax. METHODS: Published studies since 1950 of the use of primaquine regimens for preventing P. vivax relapse were reviewed. Data were extracted systematically from available papers. Primaquine regimens were categorized according to the total dose administered: very low (≤2.5 mg/kg), low (>2.5 mg/kg- < 5.0 mg/kg) and high (≥ 5.0 mg/kg). The risk of recurrent infection were summarized across geographical regions and the odds ratios between treatment regimens calculated after stratifying by total treatment dose and duration of study follow up. RESULTS: Data could be retrieved from 87 clinical trials presenting data in 59,735 patients enrolled into 156 treatment arms, conducted in 20 countries. There was marked heterogeneity in study design, particularly primaquine dosing and duration of follow up. The median rate of recurrence following very low dose of primaquine (n = 44) was 25% (range 0-90%) at 4-6 months, compared to 6.7 % (range 0-59%) following low dose primaquine (n = 82). High dose primaquine regimens were assessed in 28 treatment arms, and were associated with a median recurrence rate of 0% (Range: 0-15%) at one month. In 18 studies with control arms, the effectiveness of a very low dose primaquine regimen was no different from patients who did not receive primaquine (OR = 0.60, 95%CI 0.33-1.09, p = 0.09), whereas for the low dose regimens a significant difference was reported in 50% (6/12) of studies (overall OR = 0.14, 95%CI: 0.06-0.35, p < 0.001). Two studies enrolling 171 patients demonstrated high effectiveness of high dose primaquine compared to a control arm (OR = 0.03 (95%CI: 0.01-0.13); p < 0.0001). CONCLUSIONS: Low dose regimens retain adequate efficacy in some areas, but this is not uniform. The efficacy and safety of pragmatic high dose primaquine regimens needs to be assessed in a range of endemic and geographical locations. Such studies will require a prolonged period of follow up and comparison with control arms to account for confounding factors.

Zaloumis S, Humberstone A, Charman SA, Price RN, Moehrle J, Gamo-Benito J, McCaw J, Jamsen KM, Smith K, Simpson JA. 2012. Assessing the utility of an anti-malarial pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic model for aiding drug clinical development. Malar J, 11 (1), pp. 303. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Mechanistic within-host models relating blood anti-malarial drug concentrations with the parasite-time profile help in assessing dosing schedules and partner drugs for new anti-malarial treatments. A comprehensive simulation study to assess the utility of a stage-specific pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic (PK-PD) model for predicting within-host parasite response was performed. METHODS: Three anti-malarial combination therapies were selected: artesunate-mefloquine, dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine, and artemether-lumefantrine. The PK-PD model included parameters to represent the concentration-time profiles of both drugs, the initial parasite burden and distribution across the parasite life cycle, and the parasite multiplication factor due to asexual reproduction. The model also included the maximal killing rate of each drug, and the blood drug concentration associated with half of that killing effect (in vivo EC50), derived from the in vitro IC50, the extent of binding to 0.5% Albumax present in the in vitro testing media, and the drugs plasma protein binding and whole blood to plasma partitioning ratio. All stochastic simulations were performed using a Latin-Hypercube-Sampling approach. RESULTS: The simulations demonstrated that the proportion of patients cured was highly sensitive to the in vivo EC50 and the maximal killing rate of the partner drug co-administered with the artemisinin derivative. The in vivo EC50 values that corresponded to on average 95% of patients cured were much higher than the adjusted values derived from the in vitro IC50. The proportion clinically cured was not strongly influenced by changes in the parameters defining the age distribution of the initial parasite burden (mean age of 4 to 16 hours) and the parasite multiplication factor every life cycle (ranging from 8 to 12 fold/cycle). The median parasite clearance times, however, lengthened as the standard deviation of the initial parasite burden increased (i.e. the infection became more asynchronous). CONCLUSIONS: This simulation study demonstrates that the PD effect predicted from in vitro growth inhibition assays does not accord well with the PD effect of the anti-malarials observed within the patient. This simulation-based PK-PD modelling approach should not be considered as a replacement to conducting clinical trials but instead as a decision tool to improve the design of a clinical trial during drug development.

Baird KJ, Maguire JD, Price RN. 2012. Diagnosis and treatment of Plasmodium vivax malaria. Adv Parasitol, 80 pp. 203-270. | Show Abstract | Read more

Infection by Plasmodium vivax poses unique challenges for diagnosis and treatment. Relatively low numbers of parasites in peripheral circulation may be difficult to confirm, and patients infected by dormant liver stages cannot be diagnosed before activation and the ensuing relapse. Radical cure thus requires therapy aimed at both the blood stages of the parasite (blood schizontocidal) and prevention of subsequent relapses (hypnozoitocidal). Chloroquine and primaquine have been the companion therapies of choice for the treatment of vivax malaria since the 1950s. Confirmed resistance to chloroquine occurs in much of the vivax endemic world and demands the investigation of alternative blood schizontocidal companions in radical cure. Such a shift in practice necessitates investigation of the safety and efficacy of primaquine when administered with those therapies, and the toxicity profile of such combination treatments, particularly in patients with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency. These clinical studies are confounded by the frequency and timing of relapse among strains of P. vivax, and potentially by differing susceptibilities to primaquine. The inability to maintain this parasite in continuous in vitro culture greatly hinders new drug discovery. Development of safe and effective chemotherapies for vivax malaria for the coming decades requires overcoming these challenges.

Anstey NM, Douglas NM, Poespoprodjo JR, Price RN. 2012. Plasmodium vivax: clinical spectrum, risk factors and pathogenesis. Adv Parasitol, 80 pp. 151-201. | Show Abstract | Read more

Vivax malaria was historically described as 'benign tertian malaria' because individual clinical episodes were less likely to cause severe illness than Plasmodium falciparum. Despite this, Plasmodium vivax was, and remains, responsible for major morbidity and significant mortality in vivax-endemic areas. Single infections causing febrile illness in otherwise healthy individuals rarely progress to severe disease. Nevertheless, in the presence of co-morbidities, P. vivax can cause severe illness and fatal outcomes. Recurrent or chronic infections in endemic areas can cause severe anaemia and malnutrition, particularly in early childhood. Other severe manifestations include acute lung injury, acute kidney injury and uncommonly, coma. Multiorgan failure and shock are described but further studies are needed to investigate the role of bacterial and other co-infections in these syndromes. In pregnancy, P. vivax infection can cause maternal anaemia, miscarriage, low birth weight and congenital malaria. Compared to P. falciparum, P. vivax has a greater capacity to elicit an inflammatory response, resulting in a lower pyrogenic threshold. Conversely, cytoadherence of P. vivax to endothelial cells is less frequent and parasite sequestration is not thought to be a significant cause of severe illness in vivax malaria. With a predilection for young red cells, P. vivax does not result in the high parasite biomass associated with severe disease in P. falciparum, but a four to fivefold greater removal of uninfected red cells from the circulation relative to P. falciparum is associated with a similar risk of severe anaemia. Mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of severe vivax syndromes remain incompletely understood.

Battle KE, Gething PW, Elyazar IR, Moyes CL, Sinka ME, Howes RE, Guerra CA, Price RN, Baird KJ, Hay SI. 2012. The global public health significance of Plasmodium vivax. Adv Parasitol, 80 pp. 1-111. | Show Abstract | Read more

Plasmodium vivax occurs globally and thrives in both temperate and tropical climates. Here, we review the evidence of the biological limits of its contemporary distribution and the global population at risk (PAR) of the disease within endemic countries. We also review the most recent evidence for the endemic level of transmission within its range and discuss the implications for burden of disease assessments. Finally, the evidence-base for defining the contemporary distribution and PAR of P. vivax are discussed alongside a description of the vectors of human malaria within the limits of risk. This information along with recent data documenting the severe morbid and fatal consequences of P. vivax infection indicates that the public health significance of P. vivax is likely to have been seriously underestimated.

Douglas NM, John GK, von Seidlein L, Anstey NM, Price RN. 2012. Chemotherapeutic strategies for reducing transmission of Plasmodium vivax malaria. Adv Parasitol, 80 pp. 271-300. | Show Abstract | Read more

Effective use of anti-malarial drugs is key to reducing the transmission potential of Plasmodium vivax. In patients presenting with symptomatic disease, treatment with potent and relatively slowly eliminated blood schizontocidal regimens administered concurrently with a supervised course of 7 mg/kg primaquine over 7-14 days has potential to exert the greatest transmission-blocking benefit. Given the spread of chloroquine-resistant P. vivax strains, the artemisinin combination therapies dihydroartemisinin + piperaquine and artesunate + mefloquine are currently the most assured means of preventing P. vivax recrudescence. Preliminary evidence suggests that, like chloroquine, these combinations potentiate the hypnozoitocidal effect of primaquine, but further supportive evidence is required. In view of the high rate of P. vivax relapse following falciparum infections in co-endemic regions, there is a strong argument for broadening current radical cure policy to include the administration of hypnozoitocidal doses of primaquine to patients with Plasmodium falciparum malaria. The most important reservoir for P. vivax transmission is likely to be very low-density, asymptomatic infections, the majority of which will arise from liver-stage relapses. Therefore, judicious mass administration of hypnozoitocidal therapy will reduce transmission of P. vivax to a greater extent than strategies focused on treatment of symptomatic patients. An efficacious hypnozoitocidal agent with a short curative treatment course would be particularly useful in mass drug administration campaigns.

Price RN, Auburn S, Marfurt J, Cheng Q. 2012. Phenotypic and genotypic characterisation of drug-resistant Plasmodium vivax Trends in Parasitology, 28 (11), pp. 522-529. | Show Abstract | Read more

In this review we present recent developments in the analysis of Plasmodium vivax clinical trials and ex vivo drug-susceptibility assays, as well approaches currently being used to identify molecular markers of drug resistance. Clinical trials incorporating the measurement of in vivo drug concentrations and parasite clearance times are needed to detect early signs of resistance. Analysis of P. vivax growth dynamics ex vivo have defined the criteria for acceptable assay thresholds for drug susceptibility testing, and their subsequent interpretation. Genotyping and next-generation sequencing studies in P. vivax field isolates are set to transform our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of drug resistance. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Douglas NM, Anstey NM, Buffet PA, Poespoprodjo JR, Yeo TW, White NJ, Price RN. 2012. The anaemia of Plasmodium vivax malaria. Malar J, 11 (1), pp. 135. | Show Abstract | Read more

Plasmodium vivax threatens nearly half the world's population and is a significant impediment to achievement of the millennium development goals. It is an important, but incompletely understood, cause of anaemia. This review synthesizes current evidence on the epidemiology, pathogenesis, treatment and consequences of vivax-associated anaemia. Young children are at high risk of clinically significant and potentially severe vivax-associated anaemia, particularly in countries where transmission is intense and relapses are frequent. Despite reaching lower densities than Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium vivax causes similar absolute reduction in red blood cell mass because it results in proportionately greater removal of uninfected red blood cells. Severe vivax anaemia is associated with substantial indirect mortality and morbidity through impaired resilience to co-morbidities, obstetric complications and requirement for blood transfusion. Anaemia can be averted by early and effective anti-malarial treatment.

Kerlin DH, Boyce K, Marfurt J, Simpson JA, Kenangalem E, Cheng Q, Price RN, Gatton ML. 2012. An analytical method for assessing stage-specific drug activity in Plasmodium vivax malaria: implications for ex vivo drug susceptibility testing. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 6 (8), pp. e1772. | Show Abstract | Read more

The emergence of highly chloroquine (CQ) resistant P. vivax in Southeast Asia has created an urgent need for an improved understanding of the mechanisms of drug resistance in these parasites, the development of robust tools for defining the spread of resistance, and the discovery of new antimalarial agents. The ex vivo Schizont Maturation Test (SMT), originally developed for the study of P. falciparum, has been modified for P. vivax. We retrospectively analysed the results from 760 parasite isolates assessed by the modified SMT to investigate the relationship between parasite growth dynamics and parasite susceptibility to antimalarial drugs. Previous observations of the stage-specific activity of CQ against P. vivax were confirmed, and shown to have profound consequences for interpretation of the assay. Using a nonlinear model we show increased duration of the assay and a higher proportion of ring stages in the initial blood sample were associated with decreased effective concentration (EC(50)) values of CQ, and identify a threshold where these associations no longer hold. Thus, starting composition of parasites in the SMT and duration of the assay can have a profound effect on the calculated EC(50) for CQ. Our findings indicate that EC(50) values from assays with a duration less than 34 hours do not truly reflect the sensitivity of the parasite to CQ, nor an assay where the proportion of ring stage parasites at the start of the assay does not exceed 66%. Application of this threshold modelling approach suggests that similar issues may occur for susceptibility testing of amodiaquine and mefloquine. The statistical methodology which has been developed also provides a novel means of detecting stage-specific drug activity for new antimalarials.

Marfurt J, Chalfein F, Prayoga P, Wabiser F, Wirjanata G, Sebayang B, Piera KA, Wittlin S, Haynes RK, Möhrle JJ et al. 2012. Comparative ex vivo activity of novel endoperoxides in multidrug-resistant plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 56 (10), pp. 5258-5263. | Show Abstract | Read more

The declining efficacy of artemisinin derivatives against Plasmodium falciparum highlights the urgent need to identify alternative highly potent compounds for the treatment of malaria. In Papua Indonesia, where multidrug resistance has been documented against both P. falciparum and P. vivax malaria, comparative ex vivo antimalarial activity against Plasmodium isolates was assessed for the artemisinin derivatives artesunate (AS) and dihydroartemisinin (DHA), the synthetic peroxides OZ277 and OZ439, the semisynthetic 10-alkylaminoartemisinin derivatives artemisone and artemiside, and the conventional antimalarial drugs chloroquine (CQ), amodiaquine (AQ), and piperaquine (PIP). Ex vivo drug susceptibility was assessed in 46 field isolates (25 P. falciparum and 21 P. vivax). The novel endoperoxide compounds exhibited potent ex vivo activity against both species, but significant differences in intrinsic activity were observed. Compared to AS and its active metabolite DHA, all the novel compounds showed lower or equal 50% inhibitory concentrations (IC(50)s) in both species (median IC(50)s between 1.9 and 3.6 nM in P. falciparum and 0.7 and 4.6 nM in P. vivax). The antiplasmodial activity of novel endoperoxides showed different cross-susceptibility patterns in the two Plasmodium species: whereas their ex vivo activity correlated positively with CQ, PIP, AS, and DHA in P. falciparum, the same was not apparent in P. vivax. The current study demonstrates for the first time potent activity of novel endoperoxides against drug-resistant P. vivax. The high activity against drug-resistant strains of both Plasmodium species confirms these compounds to be promising candidates for future artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) regimens in regions of coendemicity.

McGready R, Boel M, Rijken MJ, Ashley EA, Cho T, Moo O, Paw MK, Pimanpanarak M, Hkirijareon L, Carrara VI et al. 2012. Effect of early detection and treatment on malaria related maternal mortality on the north-western border of Thailand 1986-2010. PLoS One, 7 (7), pp. e40244. | Show Abstract | Read more

INTRODUCTION: Maternal mortality is high in developing countries, but there are few data in high-risk groups such as migrants and refugees in malaria-endemic areas. Trends in maternal mortality were followed over 25 years in antenatal clinics prospectively established in an area with low seasonal transmission on the north-western border of Thailand. METHODS AND FINDINGS: All medical records from women who attended the Shoklo Malaria Research Unit antenatal clinics from 12(th) May 1986 to 31(st) December 2010 were reviewed, and maternal death records were analyzed for causality. There were 71 pregnancy-related deaths recorded amongst 50,981 women who attended antenatal care at least once. Three were suicide and excluded from the analysis as incidental deaths. The estimated maternal mortality ratio (MMR) overall was 184 (95%CI 150-230) per 100,000 live births. In camps for displaced persons there has been a six-fold decline in the MMR from 499 (95%CI 200-780) in 1986-90 to 79 (40-170) in 2006-10, p<0.05. In migrants from adjacent Myanmar the decline in MMR was less significant: 588 (100-3260) to 252 (150-430) from 1996-2000 to 2006-2010. Mortality from P. falciparum malaria in pregnancy dropped sharply with the introduction of systematic screening and treatment and continued to decline with the reduction in the incidence of malaria in the communities. P. vivax was not a cause of maternal death in this population. Infection (non-puerperal sepsis and P. falciparum malaria) accounted for 39.7 (27/68) % of all deaths. CONCLUSIONS: Frequent antenatal clinic screening allows early detection and treatment of falciparum malaria and substantially reduces maternal mortality from P. falciparum malaria. No significant decline has been observed in deaths from sepsis or other causes in refugee and migrant women on the Thai-Myanmar border.

Sibley CH, Price RN. 2012. Monitoring antimalarial drug resistance: Applying lessons learned from the past in a fast-moving present. Int J Parasitol Drugs Drug Resist, 2 pp. 126-133. | Show Abstract | Read more

The need for robust surveillance of antimalarial drugs is more urgent than it has ever been. In the western region of Cambodia, artemisinin resistance has emerged in Plasmodium falciparum and threatens to undermine the efficacy of highly effective artemisinin combination therapies. Although some manfestations of artemisinin tolerance are unique to this class of drug, many of its properties mirror previous experience in understanding and tracking resistance to other antimalarials. In this review we outline the spectrum of approaches that were developed to understand the evolution and spread of antifolate resistance, highlighting the importance of integrating information from different methodologies towards a better understanding of the underlying biologic processes. We consider how to apply our experience in investigating and attempting to contain antifolate resistance to inform our prospective assessment of novel antimalarial resistance patterns and their subsequent spread.

Poespoprodjo JR, Fobia W, Kenangalem E, Hasanuddin A, Sugiarto P, Tjitra E, Anstey NM, Price RN. 2011. Highly effective therapy for maternal malaria associated with a lower risk of vertical transmission. J Infect Dis, 204 (10), pp. 1613-1619. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The epidemiology of congenital malaria was investigated in a hospital-based malaria surveillance study in Papua, Indonesia. METHODS: From April 2005 to January 2010, 4878 delivering women and their newborns underwent prospective clinical review and malaria screening by peripheral blood microscopy. FINDINGS: Congenital malaria occurred in 8 per 1000 (38/4884) live births, with Plasmodium falciparum accounting for 76.3% (29) and P. vivax for 15.8% (6) of infections. Maternal malaria at delivery (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 9.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], 4.2-21.5; P < .001), age ≤ 16 years (AOR, 4; 95% CI, 1.4-12.1; P = .011), and prior malaria during pregnancy (AOR, 2.2; 95% CI, 1.1-4.4, P = .022) were independent risk factors for vertical transmission. Of 29 mothers and neonates with contemporaneous peripheral parasitemia, 17% (5) had discordant parasite species, suggesting possible antenatal malaria transmission. Newborns with malaria were at significantly greater risk of low birth weight (AOR, 2.8; 95% CI, 1.2-6.6; P = .002). Following introduction of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine for uncomplicated malaria in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, congenital malaria incidence fell from 3.2% to 0.2% (odds ratio, 0.07; 95% CI, .03-.15; P < .001). CONCLUSIONS: Congenital malaria is an important cause of neonatal morbidity in this region co-endemic for P. falciparum and P. vivax malaria. The introduction of artemisinin-combination therapy was associated with a significant risk reduction in the vertical transmission of malaria.

Phyo AP, Lwin KM, Price RN, Ashley EA, Russell B, Sriprawat K, Lindegardh N, Singhasivanon P, White NJ, Nosten F. 2011. Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine versus chloroquine in the treatment of Plasmodium vivax malaria in Thailand: a randomized controlled trial. Clin Infect Dis, 53 (10), pp. 977-984. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Chloroquine (CQ) remains the treatment of choice for Plasmodium vivax malaria. Initially confined to parts of Indonesia and Papua, resistance of P. vivax to CQ seems to be spreading, and alternative treatments are required. METHODS: We conducted a randomized controlled study to compare the efficacy and the tolerability of CQ and dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DP) in 500 adults and children with acute vivax malaria on the Northwestern border of Thailand. RESULTS: Both drugs were well tolerated. Fever and parasite clearance times were slower in the CQ than in the DP group (P < .001). By day 28, recurrent infections had emerged in 18 of 207 CQ recipients compared with 5 of 230 treated with DP (relative risk, 4.0; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.51-10.58; P = .0046). The cumulative risk of recurrence with P. vivax at 9 weeks was 79.1% (95% CI, 73.5%-84.8%) in patients treated with CQ compared with 54.9% (95% CI, 48.2%-61.6%) in those receiving DP (hazard ratio [HR], 2.27; 95% CI, 1.8-2.9; P < .001). Children <5 years old were at greater risk of recurrent P. vivax infection (74.4%; 95% CI, 63.2%-85.6%) than older patients (55.3% [95% CI, 50.2%-60.4%]; HR, 1.58 [95% CI, 1.1-2.2]; P = .005). In vitro susceptibility testing showed that 13% of the tested isolates had a CQ median inhibitory concentration >100 nmol/L, suggesting reduced susceptibility. CONCLUSIONS: The efficacy of CQ in the treatment of P. vivax infections is declining on the Thai-Myanmar border. DP is an effective alternative treatment.

Proux S, Suwanarusk R, Barends M, Zwang J, Price RN, Leimanis M, Kiricharoen L, Laochan N, Russell B, Nosten F, Snounou G. 2011. Considerations on the use of nucleic acid-based amplification for malaria parasite detection. Malar J, 10 (1), pp. 323. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Nucleic acid amplification provides the most sensitive and accurate method to detect and identify pathogens. This is primarily useful for epidemiological investigations of malaria because the infections, often with two or more Plasmodium species present simultaneously, are frequently associated with microscopically sub-patent parasite levels and cryptic mixed infections. Numerous distinct equally adequate amplification-based protocols have been described, but it is unclear which to select for epidemiological surveys. Few comparative studies are available, and none that addresses the issue of inter-laboratory variability. METHODS: Blood samples were collected from patients attending malaria clinics on the Thai-Myanmar border. Frozen aliquots from 413 samples were tested independently in two laboratories by nested PCR assay. Dried blood spots on filter papers from the same patients were also tested by the nested PCR assay in one laboratory and by a multiplex PCR assay in another. The aim was to determine which protocol best detected parasites below the sensitivity level of microscopic examination. RESULTS: As expected PCR-based assays detected a substantial number of infected samples, or mixed infections, missed by microscopy (27 and 42 for the most sensitive assay, respectively). The protocol that was most effective at detecting these, in particular mixed infections, was a nested PCR assay with individual secondary reactions for each of the species initiated with a template directly purified from the blood sample. However, a lesser sensitivity in detection was observed when the same protocol was conducted in another laboratory, and this significantly altered the data obtained on the parasite species distribution. CONCLUSIONS: The sensitivity of a given PCR assay varies between laboratories. Although, the variations are relatively minor, they primarily diminish the ability to detect low-level and mixed infections and are sufficient to obviate the main rationale to use PCR assays rather than microscopy or rapid diagnostic tests. The optimal approach to standardise methodologies is to provide PCR template standards. These will help researchers in different settings to ensure that the nucleic acid amplification protocols they wish to use provide the requisite level of sensitivity, and will permit comparison between sites.

Price RN, Douglas NM, Anstey NM, von Seidlein L. 2011. Plasmodium vivax treatments: what are we looking for? Curr Opin Infect Dis, 24 (6), pp. 578-585. | Show Abstract | Read more

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: For over 50 years, the treatment of Plasmodium vivax has relied on a combination of chloroquine and primaquine, but this strategy is under threat. Chloroquine efficacy is now compromised across much of the vivax endemic world and there are significant operational difficulties in deploying primaquine. We review the recent advances in P. vivax chemotherapy that may influence the future management of this neglected pathogen. RECENT FINDINGS: New-generation artemisinin combination therapies (ACTs) have shown potent efficacy against the erythrocytic stages of both drug-resistant P. vivax and Plasmodium falciparum. Antimalarial regimens containing slowly eliminated drugs provide a measure of protection against the first, and possibly second, relapse of tropical strains of P. vivax, but reliable radical cure is needed to prevent future relapses. Primaquine is currently the only licensed hypnozoitocidal treatment, but requires long treatment courses and its effectiveness in different endemic settings remains largely unknown. SUMMARY: In regions coendemic for P. vivax and P. falciparum, a unified treatment policy for malaria of any parasitological cause is likely to confer the greatest individual and public health benefit. Optimizing the safety and effectiveness of primaquine through the development of rapid diagnostic tests for glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency and improving drug adherence will be crucial endeavors in the fight against vivax malaria.

Marfurt J, Chalfein F, Prayoga P, Wabiser F, Kenangalem E, Piera KA, Machunter B, Tjitra E, Anstey NM, Price RN. 2011. Ex vivo drug susceptibility of ferroquine against chloroquine-resistant isolates of Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 55 (9), pp. 4461-4464. | Show Abstract | Read more

Ferroquine (FQ; SSR97193), a ferrocene-containing 4-aminoquinoline derivate, has potent in vitro efficacy against chloroquine (CQ)-resistant Plasmodium falciparum and CQ-sensitive P. vivax. In the current study, ex vivo FQ activity was tested in multidrug-resistant P. falciparum and P. vivax field isolates using a schizont maturation assay. Although FQ showed excellent activity against CQ-sensitive and -resistant P. falciparum and P. vivax (median 50% inhibitory concentrations [IC(50)s], 9.6 nM and 18.8 nM, respectively), there was significant cross-susceptibility with the quinoline-based drugs chloroquine, amodiaquine, and piperaquine (for P. falciparum, r = 0.546 to 0.700, P < 0.001; for P. vivax, r = 0.677 to 0.821, P < 0.001). The observed ex vivo cross-susceptibility is likely to reflect similar mechanisms of drug uptake/efflux and modes of drug action of this drug class. However, the potent activity of FQ against resistant isolates of both P. falciparum and P. vivax highlights a promising role for FQ as a lead antimalarial against CQ-resistant Plasmodium and a useful partner drug for artemisinin-based combination therapy.

Lampah DA, Yeo TW, Hardianto SO, Tjitra E, Kenangalem E, Sugiarto P, Price RN, Anstey NM. 2011. Coma associated with microscopy-diagnosed Plasmodium vivax: a prospective study in Papua, Indonesia. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 5 (6), pp. e1032. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Coma complicates Plasmodium falciparum infection but is uncommonly associated with P. vivax. Most series of vivax coma have been retrospective and have not utilized molecular methods to exclude mixed infections with P. falciparum. METHODS: We prospectively enrolled patients hospitalized in Timika, Indonesia, with a Glasgow Coma Score (GCS) ≤10 and P. vivax monoinfection on initial microscopy over a four year period. Hematological, biochemical, serological, radiological and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) examinations were performed to identify other causes of coma. Repeat microscopy, antigen detection and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) were performed to exclude infections with other Plasmodium species. RESULTS: Of 24 patients fulfilling enrolment criteria, 5 had clear evidence for other non-malarial etiologies. PCR demonstrated 10 mixed infections and 3 P. falciparum monoinfections. 6 (25%) patients had vivax monoinfection and no apparent alternative cause, with a median GCS of 9 (range 8-10) and a median coma duration of 42 (range 36-48) hours. CSF leukocyte counts were <10/ul (n=3); 2 of the 3 patients without CSF examination recovered with antimalarial therapy alone. One patient had a tremor on discharge consistent with a post-malarial neurological syndrome. No patient had other organ dysfunction. The only death was associated with pure P. falciparum infection by PCR. Vivax monoinfection-associated risk of coma was estimated at 1 in 29,486 clinical vivax infections with no deaths. In comparison, the risk of falciparum-associated coma was estimated at 1 in 1,276 clinical infections with an 18.5% mortality rate. CONCLUSIONS: P. vivax-associated coma is rare, occurring 23 times less frequently than that seen with falciparum malaria, and is associated with a high proportion of non-malarial causes and mixed infections using PCR. The pathogenesis of coma associated with vivax malaria, particularly the role of comorbidities, is uncertain and requires further investigation.

Andersen F, Douglas NM, Bustos D, Galappaththy G, Qi G, Hsiang MS, Kusriastuti R, Mendis K, Taleo G, Whittaker M et al. 2011. Trends in malaria research in 11 Asian Pacific countries: an analysis of peer-reviewed publications over two decades. Malar J, 10 (1), pp. 131. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Quantitative data are lacking on published malaria research. The purpose of the study is to characterize trends in malaria-related literature from 1990 to 2009 in 11 Asian-Pacific countries that are committed to malaria elimination as a national goal. METHODS: A systematic search was conducted for articles published from January 1990 to December 2009 in PubMed/MEDLINE using terms for malaria and 11 target countries (Bhutan, China, North Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vanuatu). The references were collated and categorized according to subject, Plasmodium species, and whether they contained original or derivative data. RESULTS: 2,700 articles published between 1990 and 2009 related to malaria in the target countries. The annual output of malaria-related papers increased linearly whereas the overall biomedical output from these countries grew exponentially. The percentage of malaria-related publications was nearly 3% (111/3741) of all biomedical publications in 1992 and decreased to less than 1% (118/12171; p < 0.001) in 2009. Thailand had the highest absolute output of malaria-related papers (n = 1211), followed by China (n = 609) and Indonesia (n = 346). Solomon Islands and Vanuatu had lower absolute numbers of publications, but both countries had the highest number of publications per capita (1.3 and 2.5 papers/1,000 population). The largest percentage of papers concerned the epidemiology and control of malaria (53%) followed by studies of drugs and drug resistance (47%). There was an increase in the proportion of articles relating to epidemiology, entomology, biology, molecular biology, pathophysiology and diagnostics from the first to the second decade, whereas the percentage of papers on drugs, clinical aspects of malaria, immunology, and social sciences decreased. CONCLUSIONS: The proportion of malaria-related publications out of the overall biomedical output from the 11 target Asian-Pacific countries is decreasing. The discovery and evaluation of new, safe and effective drugs and vaccines is paramount. In addition the elimination of malaria will require operational research to implement and scale up interventions.

Parameswaran U, Yeo T, Anstey N, Davis J, Price R, Huffam S, Hajkowicz K, McDonald M, Tong S, Spencer E et al. 2011. PROSPECTIVE STUDY OF MELIOIDOSIS AT ROYAL DARWIN HOSPITAL DURING THE 2009-2010 WET SEASON; COMPARISONS WITH THE PRECEDING 20 YEARS INTERNAL MEDICINE JOURNAL, 41 pp. 13-13.

Salwati E, Minigo G, Woodberry T, Piera KA, de Silva HD, Kenangalem E, Tjitra E, Coppel RL, Price RN, Anstey NM, Plebanski M. 2011. Differential cellular recognition of antigens during acute Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax malaria. J Infect Dis, 203 (8), pp. 1192-1199. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax are co-endemic in the Asia-Pacific region. Their capacity to induce and sustain diverse T-cell responses underpins protective immunity. We compared T-cell responses to the largely conserved merozoite surface protein-5 (PfMSP5) during acute and convalescent falciparum and vivax malaria. METHODS: Lymphoproliferation and IFN--γ secretion to PfMSP5 and purified protein derivate were quantified in adults with falciparum (n=34), and vivax malaria (n=12) or asymptomatic residents (n=10) of Papua, Indonesia. Responses were reassessed 7-28 days following treatment. RESULTS: The frequency of IFN-γ responders to PfMSP5 was similar in acute falciparum (63%) or vivax (67%) malaria. However, significantly more IFN-γ-secreting cells were detectable during vivax compared with falciparum infection. Purified protein derivative responses showed a similarly enhanced pattern. While rapidly lost in vivax patients, PfMSP5-specific responses in falciparum malaria remained to day 28. By contrast, frequency and magnitude of lymphoproliferation to PfMSP5 were similar for falciparum and vivax infections. CONCLUSION: Cellular PfMSP5-specific responses are most frequent during either acute falciparum or vivax malaria, indicating functional T-cell responses to conserved antigens. Both effector and central memory T-cell functions are increased. Greater IFN-γ responses in acute P. vivax, suggest enhancement of pre-existing effector T-cells during acute vivax infection.

Douglas NM, Nosten F, Ashley EA, Phaiphun L, van Vugt M, Singhasivanon P, White NJ, Price RN. 2011. Plasmodium vivax recurrence following falciparum and mixed species malaria: risk factors and effect of antimalarial kinetics. Clin Infect Dis, 52 (5), pp. 612-620. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Plasmodium vivax malaria commonly follows treatment of falciparum malaria in regions of co-endemicity. This is an important cause of preventable morbidity. METHODS: We examined the factors contributing to the risk of recurrence of P. vivax infection after treatment of acute falciparum malaria in a series of clinical trials conducted on the Thai-Myanmar border from 1991 through 2005. RESULTS: Overall, 10,549 patients (4960 children aged <15 years and 5589 adults) were treated for falciparum malaria; of these patients, 9385 (89.0%) had Plasmodium falciparum monoinfection and 1164 (11.0%) had mixed P. falciparum/P. vivax infections according to microscopic examinations performed at screening. The cumulative proportion of patients with P. falciparum infection recurrence by day 63 was 21.5% (95% confidence interval [CI], 20.3%-22.8%), and the cumulative proportion with P. vivax infection recurrence was 31.5% (95% CI, 30.1%-33.0%). Significant risk factors for P. vivax infection recurrence were mixed infection at enrollment, male sex, younger age, lower hematocrit, higher asexual P. falciparum parasite density (P < .001 for all factors), and P. falciparum gametocytemia at enrollment (P = .001). By day 63, the cumulative risk of vivax malaria after P. falciparum monoinfection was 51.1% (95% CI, 46.1%-56.2%) after treatment with rapidly eliminated drugs (t(1/2) <1 day), 35.3% (95% CI, 31.8%-39.0%) after treatment with intermediate half-life drugs (t(1/2) 1-7 days), and 19.6% (95% CI, 18.1%-21.3%) after treatment with slowly eliminated drugs (t(1/2) > 7 days) (P < .001, by test for trend). Artemisinin-based combinations containing mefloquine or piperaquine, compared with the artemether-lumefantrine and artesunate-atovaquone-proguanil combinations, were associated with a 3.6-fold to 4.2-fold lower adjusted hazard ratio for P. vivax infection recurrence within 63 days after pure or mixed P. falciparum infections (P < .001, for comparisons with artesunate-mefloquine). CONCLUSIONS: On the Thai-Myanmar border, P. vivax is the most common cause of parasitological failure after treatment for falciparum malaria. Slowly eliminated antimalarials reduce the risk of early P. vivax infection recurrence.

Marfurt J, Chalfein F, Prayoga P, Wabiser F, Kenangalem E, Piera KA, Fairlie DP, Tjitra E, Anstey NM, Andrews KT, Price RN. 2011. Ex vivo activity of histone deacetylase inhibitors against multidrug-resistant clinical isolates of Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 55 (3), pp. 961-966. | Show Abstract | Read more

Histone acetylation plays an important role in regulating gene transcription and silencing in Plasmodium falciparum. Histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors, particularly those of the hydroxamate class, have been shown to have potent in vitro activity against drug-resistant and -sensitive laboratory strains of P. falciparum, raising their potential as a new class of antimalarial compounds. In the current study, stage-specific ex vivo susceptibility profiles of representative hydroxamate-based HDAC inhibitors suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA), 2-ASA-9, and 2-ASA-14 (2-ASA-9 and 2-ASA-14 are 2-aminosuberic acid-based HDAC inhibitors) were assessed in multidrug-resistant clinical isolates of P. falciparum (n = 24) and P. vivax (n = 25) from Papua, Indonesia, using a modified schizont maturation assay. Submicromolar concentrations of SAHA, 2-ASA-9, and 2-ASA-14 inhibited the growth of both P. falciparum (median 50% inhibitory concentrations [IC₅₀s] of 310, 533, and 266 nM) and P. vivax (median IC₅₀s of 170, 503, and 278 nM). Inverse correlation patterns between HDAC inhibitors and chloroquine for P. falciparum and mefloquine for P. vivax indicate species-specific susceptibility profiles for HDAC inhibitors. These HDAC inhibitors were also found to be potent ex vivo against P. vivax schizont maturation, comparable to that in P. falciparum, suggesting that HDAC inhibitors may be promising candidates for antimalarial therapy in geographical locations where both species are endemic. Further studies optimizing the selectivity and in vivo efficacy of HDAC inhibitors in Plasmodium spp. and defining drug interaction with common antimalarial compounds are warranted to investigate the role of HDAC inhibitors in antimalarial therapy.

Siswantoro H, Russell B, Ratcliff A, Prasetyorini B, Chalfein F, Marfurt J, Kenangalem E, Wuwung M, Piera KA, Ebsworth EP et al. 2011. In vivo and in vitro efficacy of chloroquine against Plasmodium malariae and P. ovale in Papua, Indonesia. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 55 (1), pp. 197-202. | Show Abstract | Read more

Reports of potential drug-resistant strains of Plasmodium malariae in western Indonesia raise concerns that chloroquine resistance may be emerging in P. malariae and P. ovale. In order to assess this, in vivo and in vitro efficacy studies were conducted in patients with monoinfection in Papua, Indonesia. Consecutive patients with uncomplicated malaria due to P. ovale or P. malariae were enrolled in a prospective clinical trial, provided with supervised chloroquine treatment, and followed for 28 days. Blood from patients with P. malariae or P. ovale parasitemia greater than 1,000 per microliter underwent in vitro antimalarial drug susceptibility testing using a modified schizont maturation assay. Of the 57 evaluable patients in the clinical study (P. malariae, n = 46; P. ovale, n = 11), none had recurrence with the same species during follow-up. The mean parasite reduction ratio at 48 h was 86 (95% confidence interval [CI], 57 to 114) for P. malariae and 150 (95% CI, 54 to 245) for P. ovale (P = 0.18). One patient infected with P. malariae, with 93% of parasites at the trophozoite stage, was still parasitemic on day 4. In vitro drug susceptibility assays were carried out successfully for 40 isolates (34 infected with P. malariae and 6 with P. ovale). The P. malariae infections at trophozoite stages had significantly higher chloroquine 50% effective concentrations (EC(50)s) (median, 127.9 nM [range, 7.9 to 2,980]) than those initially exposed at the ring stage (median, 14.0 nM [range, 3.5 to 27.0]; P = 0.01). The EC(50) for chloroquine in P. ovale was also higher in an isolate initially at the trophozoite stage (23.2 nM) than in the three isolates predominantly at ring stage (7.8 nM). Chloroquine retains adequate efficacy against P. ovale and P. malariae, but its marked stage specificity of action may account for reports of delayed parasite clearance times.

Price RN, Marfurt J, Chalfein F, Kenangalem E, Piera KA, Tjitra E, Anstey NM, Russell B. 2010. In vitro activity of pyronaridine against multidrug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 54 (12), pp. 5146-5150. | Show Abstract | Read more

Pyronaridine, a Mannich base antimalarial, has demonstrated high in vivo and in vitro efficacy against chloroquine-resistant Plasmodium falciparum. Although this drug has the potential to become a prominent artemisinin combination therapy, little is known about its efficacy against drug-resistant Plasmodium vivax. The in vitro antimalarial susceptibility of pyronaridine was assessed in multidrug-resistant P. vivax (n = 99) and P. falciparum (n = 90) isolates from Papua, Indonesia, using a schizont maturation assay. The median 50% inhibitory concentration (IC(50)) of pyronaridine was 1.92 nM (range, 0.24 to 13.8 nM) against P. falciparum and 2.58 nM (range, 0.13 to 43.6 nM) against P. vivax, with in vitro susceptibility correlating significantly with chloroquine, amodiaquine, and piperaquine (r(s) [Spearman's rank correlation coefficient] = 0.45 to 0.62; P < 0.001). P. falciparum parasites initially at trophozoite stage had higher IC(50)s of pyronaridine than those exposed at the ring stage (8.9 nM [range, 0.6 to 8.9 nM] versus 1.6 nM [range, 0.6 to 8.9 nM], respectively; P = 0.015), although this did not reach significance for P. vivax (4.7 nM [range, 1.4 to 18.7 nM] versus 2.5 nM [range, 1.4 to 15.6 nM], respectively; P = 0.085). The excellent in vitro efficacy of pyronaridine against both chloroquine-resistant P. vivax and P. falciparum highlights the suitability of the drug as a novel partner for artemisinin-based combination therapy in regions where the two species are coendemic.

Price RN, Douglas NM. 2010. Maximising the public health benefit of antimalarials. Lancet Infect Dis, 10 (10), pp. 654-655. | Read more

Randall LM, Kenangalem E, Lampah DA, Tjitra E, Mwaikambo ED, Handojo T, Piera KA, Zhao ZZ, de Labastida Rivera F, Zhou Y et al. 2010. Age-related susceptibility to severe malaria associated with galectin-2 in highland Papuans. J Infect Dis, 202 (1), pp. 117-124. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Age and host genetics are important determinants of malaria severity. Lymphotoxin-alpha (LTalpha) has been associated with the development of cerebral malaria (CM) and other severe malaria (SM) syndromes. Mutations in genes regulating LTalpha production contribute to other acute vascular diseases and may contribute to malaria pathogenesis. METHODS: We tested the association between rs7291467, a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the LTalpha-related gene encoding galectin-2 (LGALS2), disease severity, and function in a case-control study of ethnic Highland Papuan adults and children with SM (n = 380) and asymptomatic malaria-exposed controls (n = 356) originating from a non-malaria-endemic region but residing in a lowland malaria-endemic area of Papua, Indonesia. RESULTS: The LGALS2 SNP showed a significant association with susceptibility to SM (including CM), in children (odds ratio, 2.02 [95% confidence interval, 1.14-3.57]) but not in adults. In SM, the C allele at rs7291467 was associated with enhanced galectin-2 transcript levels. In a separate group of Tanzanian children originating from a malaria-endemic region, we found preservation of the major ancestral LGALS2 allele and no association with susceptibility to CM. CONCLUSIONS: Results suggest differences in the inflammatory contribution to the development of SM between children and adults in the same population and potential differences between individuals originating from malaria-endemic and non-malaria-endemic areas.

Yeo TW, Lampah DA, Tjitra E, Piera K, Gitawati R, Kenangalem E, Price RN, Anstey NM. 2010. Greater endothelial activation, Weibel-Palade body release and host inflammatory response to Plasmodium vivax, compared with Plasmodium falciparum: a prospective study in Papua, Indonesia. J Infect Dis, 202 (1), pp. 109-112. | Show Abstract | Read more

Pathogenic mechanisms underlying vivax malaria are poorly understood, with few studies comparing endothelial and inflammatory responses with falciparum malaria. In adults with uncomplicated vivax or falciparum malaria, we compared plasma measurements of endothelial Weibel-Palade body release (angiopoietin-2) and activation (ICAM-1, E-selectin), as well as selected cytokines. Despite a lower median parasite count, angiopoietin-2 concentrations were higher in patients with vivax malaria, compared with falciparum malaria. Per peripheral parasite, median plasma angiopoietin-2, ICAM-1, E-selectin, interleukin-6, and interleukin-10 concentrations were higher in patients with malaria due to Plasmodium vivax. P. vivax induces greater endothelial Weibel-Palade body release and activation and greater host inflammatory responses, compared with Plasmodium falciparum.

Douglas NM, Anstey NM, Angus BJ, Nosten F, Price RN. 2010. Artemisinin combination therapy for vivax malaria. Lancet Infect Dis, 10 (6), pp. 405-416. | Show Abstract | Read more

Early parasitological diagnosis and treatment with artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) are key components of worldwide malaria elimination programmes. In general, use of ACTs has been limited to patients with falciparum malaria whereas blood-stage infections with Plasmodium vivax are mostly still treated with chloroquine. We review the evidence for the relative benefits and disadvantages of the existing separate treatment approach versus a unified ACT-based strategy for treating Plasmodium falciparum and P vivax infections in regions where both species are endemic (co-endemic). The separate treatment scenario is justifiable if P vivax remains sensitive to chloroquine and diagnostic tests reliably distinguish P vivax from P falciparum. However, with the high number of misdiagnoses in routine practice and the rise and spread of chloroquine-resistant P vivax, there might be a compelling rationale for a unified ACT-based strategy for vivax and falciparum malaria in all co-endemic regions. Analyses of the cost-effectiveness of ACTs for both Plasmodium species are needed to assess the role of these drugs in the control and elimination of vivax malaria.

Anderson TJ, Williams JT, Nair S, Sudimack D, Barends M, Jaidee A, Price RN, Nosten F. 2010. Inferred relatedness and heritability in malaria parasites. Proc Biol Sci, 277 (1693), pp. 2531-2540. | Show Abstract | Read more

Malaria parasites vary in phenotypic traits of biomedical or biological interest such as growth rate, virulence, sex ratio and drug resistance, and there is considerable interest in identifying the genes that underlie this variation. An important first step is to determine trait heritability (H(2)). We evaluate two approaches to measuring H(2) in natural parasite populations using relatedness inferred from genetic marker data. We collected single-clone Plasmodium falciparum infections from 185 patients from the Thailand-Burma border, monitored parasite clearance following treatment with artemisinin combination therapy (ACT), measured resistance to six antimalarial drugs and genotyped parasites using 335 microsatellites. We found strong relatedness structure. There were 27 groups of two to eight clonally identical (CI) parasites, and 74 per cent of parasites showed significant relatedness to one or more other parasites. Initially, we used matrices of allele sharing and variance components (VC) methods to estimate H(2). Inhibitory concentrations (IC(50)) for six drugs showed significant H(2) (0.24 to 0.79, p = 0.06 to 2.85 x 10(-9)), demonstrating that this study design has adequate power. However, a phenotype of current interest--parasite clearance following ACT--showed no detectable heritability (H(2) = 0-0.09, ns) in this population. The existence of CI parasites allows the use of a simple ANOVA approach for quantifying H(2), analogous to that used in human twin studies. This gave similar results to the VC method and requires considerably less genotyping information. We conclude (i) that H(2) can be effectively measured in malaria parasite populations using minimal genotype data, allowing rational design of genome-wide association studies; and (ii) while drug response (IC(50)) shows significant H(2), parasite clearance following ACT was not heritable in the population studied.

Poespoprodjo JR, Hasanuddin A, Fobia W, Sugiarto P, Kenangalem E, Lampah DA, Tjitra E, Price RN, Anstey NM. 2010. Severe congenital malaria acquired in utero. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 82 (4), pp. 563-565. | Show Abstract | Read more

Vertical transmission of Plasmodium falciparum is under-recognized and usually associated with asymptomatic low-level parasitemia at birth. We report symptomatic congenital malaria presenting as a neonatal sepsis syndrome. The presence at birth of a high asexual parasitemia, gametocytemia, and splenomegaly indicated in utero rather than intrapartum transmission. The neonate was successfully treated with intravenous artesunate followed by oral dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine, without apparent adverse effects.

Yeo TW, Lampah DA, Tjitra E, Gitawati R, Darcy CJ, Jones C, Kenangalem E, McNeil YR, Granger DL, Lopansri BK et al. 2010. Increased asymmetric dimethylarginine in severe falciparum malaria: association with impaired nitric oxide bioavailability and fatal outcome. PLoS Pathog, 6 (4), pp. e1000868. | Show Abstract | Read more

Asymmetrical dimethylarginine (ADMA), an endogenous inhibitor of nitric oxide synthase (NOS), is a predictor of mortality in critical illness. Severe malaria (SM) is associated with decreased NO bioavailability, but the contribution of ADMA to the pathogenesis of impaired NO bioavailability and adverse outcomes in malaria is unknown. In adults with and without falciparum malaria, we tested the hypotheses that plasma ADMA would be: 1) increased in proportion to disease severity, 2) associated with impaired vascular and pulmonary NO bioavailability and 3) independently associated with increased mortality. We assessed plasma dimethylarginines, exhaled NO concentrations and endothelial function in 49 patients with SM, 78 with moderately severe malaria (MSM) and 19 healthy controls (HC). Repeat ADMA and endothelial function measurements were performed in patients with SM. Multivariable regression was used to assess the effect of ADMA on mortality and NO bioavailability. Plasma ADMA was increased in SM patients (0.85 microM; 95% CI 0.74-0.96) compared to those with MSM (0.54 microM; 95%CI 0.5-0.56) and HCs (0.64 microM; 95%CI 0.58-0.70; p<0.001). ADMA was an independent predictor of mortality in SM patients with each micromolar elevation increasing the odds of death 18 fold (95% CI 2.0-181; p = 0.01). ADMA was independently associated with decreased exhaled NO (r(s) = -0.31) and endothelial function (r(s) = -0.32) in all malaria patients, and with reduced exhaled NO (r(s) = -0.72) in those with SM. ADMA is increased in SM and associated with decreased vascular and pulmonary NO bioavailability. Inhibition of NOS by ADMA may contribute to increased mortality in severe malaria.

Stepniewska K, Ashley E, Lee SJ, Anstey N, Barnes KI, Binh TQ, D'Alessandro U, Day NP, de Vries PJ, Dorsey G et al. 2010. In vivo parasitological measures of artemisinin susceptibility. J Infect Dis, 201 (4), pp. 570-579. | Show Abstract | Read more

Parasite clearance data from 18,699 patients with falciparum malaria treated with an artemisinin derivative in areas of low (n=14,539), moderate (n=2077), and high (n=2083) levels of malaria transmission across the world were analyzed to determine the factors that affect clearance rates and identify a simple in vivo screening measure for artemisinin resistance. The main factor affecting parasite clearance time was parasite density on admission. Clearance rates were faster in high-transmission settings and with more effective partner drugs in artemisinin-based combination treatments (ACTs). The result of the malaria blood smear on day 3 (72 h) was a good predictor of subsequent treatment failure and provides a simple screening measure for artemisinin resistance. Artemisinin resistance is highly unlikely if the proportion of patients with parasite densities of <100,000 parasites/microL given the currently recommended 3-day ACT who have a positive smear result on day 3 is <3%; that is, for n patients the observed number with a positive smear result on day 3 does not exceed (n + 60)/24.

Hanson J, Lee SJ, Mohanty S, Faiz MA, Anstey NM, Charunwatthana P, Yunus EB, Mishra SK, Tjitra E, Price RN et al. 2010. A simple score to predict the outcome of severe malaria in adults. Clin Infect Dis, 50 (5), pp. 679-685. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: World Health Organization treatment guidelines recommend that adults with severe malaria be admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU). However, ICU facilities are limited in the resource-poor settings where most malaria occurs. Identification of patients at greater risk of complications may facilitate their triage and resource allocation. METHODS: With use of data from a trial conducted in Southeast Asia (n=868), a logistic regression model was built to identify independent predictors of mortality among adults with severe malaria. A scoring system based on this model was tested in the original dataset and then validated in 2 series from Bangladesh (n=188) and Vietnam (n=292). RESULTS: Acidosis (base deficit) and cerebral malaria (measured as Glasgow Coma Score) were the main independent predictors of outcome. The 5-point Coma Acidosis Malaria (CAM) score was simply derived from these 2 variables. Mortality increased steadily with increasing score. A CAM score <2 predicted survival with a positive predictive value (PPV) of 95.8% (95% confidence interval [CI], 93%- 97.7%). Of the 14 of 331 patients who died with a CAM score <2, 11 (79%) had renal failure and death occurred late after hospital admission (median, 108 h; range, 40-360 h). Substitution of plasma bicarbonate as the measure of acidosis only slightly reduced the prognostic value of the model. Use of respiratory rate was inferior, but a score <2 still predicted survival with a PPV of 92.2% (95% CI, 89.1%-94.7%). CONCLUSIONS: Patients with a CAM score <2 at hospital admission may be safely treated in a general ward, provided that renal function can be monitored.

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Yeo TW, Lampah DA, Tjitra E, Gitawati R, Darcy CJ, Jones C, Kenangalem E, McNeil YR, Granger DL, Lopansri BK et al. 2010. Increased asymmetric dimethylarginine in severe falciparum malaria: Association with impaired nitric oxide bioavailability and fatal outcome PLoS Pathogens, 6 (4), pp. 1-8. | Show Abstract

Asymmetrical dimethylarginine (ADMA), an endogenous inhibitor of nitric oxide synthase (NOS), is a predictor of mortality in critical illness. Severe malaria (SM) is associated with decreased NO bioavailability, but the contribution of ADMA to the pathogenesis of impaired NO bioavailability and adverse outcomes in malaria is unknown. In adults with and without falciparum malaria, we tested the hypotheses that plasma ADMA would be: 1) increased in proportion to disease severity, 2) associated with impaired vascular and pulmonary NO bioavailability and 3) independently associated with increased mortality. We assessed plasma dimethylarginines, exhaled NO concentrations and endothelial function in 49 patients with SM, 78 with moderately severe malaria (MSM) and 19 healthy controls (HC). Repeat ADMA and endothelial function measurements were performed in patients with SM. Multivariable regression was used to assess the effect of ADMA on mortality and NO bioavailability. Plasma ADMA was increased in SM patients (0.85 μM; 95% CI 0.74-0.96) compared to those with MSM (0.54 μM; 95%CI 0.5-0.56) and HCs (0.64 μM; 95%CI 0.58-0.70; p<0.001). ADMA was an independent predictor of mortality in SM patients with each micromolar elevation increasing the odds of death 18 fold (95% CI 2.0-181; p = 0.01). ADMA was independently associated with decreased exhaled NO (rs =20.31) and endothelial function (rs =20.32) in all malaria patients, and with reduced exhaled NO (rs =-0.72) in those with SM. ADMA is increased in SM and associated with decreased vascular and pulmonary NO bioavailability. Inhibition of NOS by ADMA may contribute to increased mortality in severe malaria.

Randall LM, Kenangalem E, Lampah DA, Tjitra E, Mwaikambo ED, Handojo T, Piera KA, Zhao ZZ, de Labastida Rivera F, Zhou Y et al. 2010. A study of the TNF/LTA/LTB locus and susceptibility to severe malaria in highland papuan children and adults. Malar J, 9 (1), pp. 302. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Severe malaria (SM) syndromes caused by Plasmodium falciparum infection result in major morbidity and mortality each year. However, only a fraction of P. falciparum infections develop into SM, implicating host genetic factors as important determinants of disease outcome. Previous studies indicate that tumour necrosis factor (TNF) and lymphotoxin alpha (LTα) may be important for the development of cerebral malaria (CM) and other SM syndromes. METHODS: An extensive analysis was conducted of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the TNF, LTA and LTB genes in highland Papuan children and adults, a population historically unexposed to malaria that has migrated to a malaria endemic region. Generated P-values for SNPs spanning the LTA/TNF/LTB locus were corrected for multiple testing of all the SNPs and haplotype blocks within the region tested through 10,000 permutations. A global P-value of < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. RESULTS: No associations between SNPs in the TNF/LTA/LTB locus and susceptibility to SM in highland Papuan children and adults were found. CONCLUSIONS: These results support the notion that unique selective pressure on the TNF/LTA/LTB locus in different populations has influenced the contribution of the gene products from this region to SM susceptibility.

Pontororing GJ, Kenangalem E, Lolong DB, Waramori G, Sandjaja, Tjitra E, Price RN, Kelly PM, Anstey NM, Ralph AP. 2010. The burden and treatment of HIV in tuberculosis patients in Papua Province, Indonesia: a prospective observational study. BMC Infect Dis, 10 (1), pp. 362. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: New diagnoses of tuberculosis (TB) present important opportunities to detect and treat HIV. Rates of HIV and TB in Indonesia's easternmost Papua Province exceed national figures, but data on co-infection rates and outcomes are lacking. We aimed to measure TB-HIV co-infection rates, examine longitudinal trends, compare management with World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations, and document progress and outcome. METHODS: Adults with newly-diagnosed smear-positive pulmonary TB managed at the Timika TB clinic, Papua Province, were offered voluntary counselling and testing for HIV in accordance with Indonesian National Guidelines, using a point-of-care antibody test. Positive tests were confirmed with 2 further rapid tests. Study participants were assessed using clinical, bacteriological, functional and radiological measures and followed up for 6 months. RESULTS: Of 162 participants, HIV status was determined in 138 (85.2%), of whom 18 (13.0%) were HIV+. Indigenous Papuans were significantly more likely to be HIV+ than Non-Papuans (Odds Ratio [OR] 4.42, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.38-14.23). HIV prevalence among people with TB was significantly higher than during a 2003-4 survey at the same TB clinic, and substantially higher than the Indonesian national estimate of 3%. Compared with HIV- study participants, those with TB-HIV co-infection had significantly lower exercise tolerance (median difference in 6-minute walk test: 25 m, p = 0.04), haemoglobin (mean difference: 1.3 g/dL, p = 0.002), and likelihood of cavitary disease (OR 0.35, 95% CI 0.12-1.01), and increased occurrence of pleural effusion (OR 3.60, 95% CI 1.70-7.58), higher rates of hospitalisation or death (OR 11.80, 95% CI 1.82-76.43), but no difference in the likelihood of successful 6-month treatment outcome. Adherence to WHO guidelines was limited by the absence of integration of TB and HIV services, specifically, with no on-site ART prescriber available. Only six people had CD4+ T-cell counts recorded, 11 were prescribed co-trimoxazole and 4 received ART before, during or after TB treatment, despite ART being indicated in 14 according to 2006 WHO guidelines. CONCLUSIONS: TB-HIV co-infection in southern Papua, Indonesia, is a serious emerging problem especially among the Indigenous population, and has risen rapidly in the last 5 years. Major efforts are required to incorporate new WHO recommendations on TB-HIV management into national guidelines, and support their implementation in community settings.

Price RN, Douglas NM. 2009. Artemisinin combination therapy for malaria: beyond good efficacy. Clin Infect Dis, 49 (11), pp. 1638-1640. | Read more

Yeo TW, Lampah DA, Tjitra E, Gitawati R, Kenangalem E, Piera K, Granger DL, Lopansri BK, Weinberg JB, Price RN et al. 2009. Relationship of cell-free hemoglobin to impaired endothelial nitric oxide bioavailability and perfusion in severe falciparum malaria. J Infect Dis, 200 (10), pp. 1522-1529. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Hemolysis causes anemia in falciparum malaria, but its contribution to microvascular pathology in severe malaria (SM) is not well characterized. In other hemolytic diseases, release of cell-free hemoglobin causes nitric oxide (NO) quenching, endothelial activation, and vascular complications. We examined the relationship of plasma hemoglobin and myoglobin to endothelial dysfunction and disease severity in malaria. METHODS: Cell-free hemoglobin (a potent NO quencher), reactive hyperemia peripheral arterial tonometry (RH-PAT) (a measure of endothelial NO bioavailability), and measures of perfusion and endothelial activation were quantified in adults with moderately severe (n = 78) or severe (n = 49) malaria and control subjects (n = 16) from Papua, Indonesia. RESULTS: Cell-free hemoglobin concentrations in patients with SM (median, 5.4 micromol/L; interquartile range [IQR], 3.2-7.4 micromol/L) were significantly higher than in those with moderately severe malaria (2.6 micromol/L; IQR, 1.3-4.5 micromol/L) or controls (1.2 micromol/L; IQR, 0.9-2.4 micromol/L; P < .001). Multivariable regression analysis revealed that cell-free hemoglobin remained inversely associated with RH-PAT, and in patients with SM, there was a significant longitudinal association between improvement in RH-PAT index and decreasing levels of cell-free hemoglobin (P = .047). Cell-free hemoglobin levels were also independently associated with lactate, endothelial activation, and proinflammatory cytokinemia. CONCLUSIONS: Hemolysis in falciparum malaria results in NO quenching by cell-free hemoglobin, and may exacerbate endothelial dysfunction, adhesion receptor expression and impaired tissue perfusion. Treatments that increase NO bioavailability may have potential as adjunctive therapies in SM.

Price RN, Douglas NM, Anstey NM. 2009. New developments in Plasmodium vivax malaria: severe disease and the rise of chloroquine resistance. Curr Opin Infect Dis, 22 (5), pp. 430-435. | Show Abstract | Read more

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Unlike Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium vivax rarely causes severe disease in healthy travellers or in temperate endemic regions and has been regarded as readily treatable with chloroquine. However, in tropical areas, recent reports have highlighted severe and fatal disease associated with P. vivax infection. We review the evidence for severe disease and the spread of drug-resistant P. vivax and speculate how these maybe related. RECENT FINDINGS: Studies from Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Thailand and India have shown that 21-27% of patients with severe malaria have P. vivax monoinfection. The clinical spectrum of these cases is broad with an overall mortality of 0.8-1.6%. Major manifestations include severe anaemia and respiratory distress, with infants being particularly vulnerable. Most reports of severe and fatal vivax malaria come from endemic regions where populations have limited access to healthcare, a high prevalence of comorbidity and where drug-resistant P. vivax strains and partially effective primaquine regimens significantly undermine the radical cure and control of this relapsing infection. The mechanisms underlying severe disease in vivax malaria remain poorly defined. SUMMARY: Severe, fatal and multidrug-resistant vivax malaria challenge our perception of P. vivax as a benign disease. Strategies to understand and address these phenomena are needed urgently if the global elimination of malaria is to succeed.

Poespoprodjo JR, Fobia W, Kenangalem E, Lampah DA, Hasanuddin A, Warikar N, Sugiarto P, Tjitra E, Anstey NM, Price RN. 2009. Vivax malaria: a major cause of morbidity in early infancy. Clin Infect Dis, 48 (12), pp. 1704-1712. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: In areas where malaria is endemic, infants aged <3 months appear to be relatively protected from symptomatic and severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria, but less is known about the effect of Plasmodium vivax infection in this age group. METHODS: To define malaria morbidity in the first year of life in an area where both multidrug-resistant P. falciparum and P. vivax are highly prevalent, data were gathered on all infants attending a referral hospital in Papua, Indonesia, using systematic data forms and hospital computerized records. Additional clinical and laboratory data were prospectively collected from inpatients aged <3 months. RESULTS: From April 2004 through April 2008, 4976 infants were admitted to the hospital, of whom 1560 (31%) had malaria, with infection equally attributable to P. falciparum and P. vivax. The case-fatality rate was similar for inpatients with P. falciparum malaria (13 [2.2%] of 599 inpatients died) and P. vivax malaria (6 [1.0%] of 603 died; P= .161), whereas severe malarial anemia was more prevalent among those with P. vivax malaria (193 [32%] of 605 vs. 144 [24%] of 601; P= .025). Of the 187 infants aged <3 months, 102 (56%) had P. vivax malaria, and 55 (30%) had P. falciparum malaria. In these young infants, infection with P. vivax was associated with a greater risk of severe anemia (odds ratio, 2.4; 95% confidence interval, 1.03-5.91; P= .041) and severe thrombocytopenia (odds ratio, 3.3; 95% confidence interval, 1.07-10.6; P= .036) compared with those who have P. falciparum infection. CONCLUSIONS: P. vivax malaria is a major cause of morbidity in early infancy. Preventive strategies, early diagnosis, and prompt treatment should be initiated in the perinatal period.

Woodberry T, Pinzon-Charry A, Piera KA, Panpisutchai Y, Engwerda CR, Doolan DL, Salwati E, Kenangalem E, Tjitra E, Price RN et al. 2009. Human T cell recognition of the blood stage antigen Plasmodium hypoxanthine guanine xanthine phosphoribosyl transferase (HGXPRT) in acute malaria. Malar J, 8 (1), pp. 122. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The Plasmodium purine salvage enzyme, hypoxanthine guanine xanthine phosphoribosyl transferase (HGXPRT) can protect mice against Plasmodium yoelii pRBC challenge in a T cell-dependent manner and has, therefore, been proposed as a novel vaccine candidate. It is not known whether natural exposure to Plasmodium falciparum stimulates HGXPRT T cell reactivity in humans. METHODS: PBMC and plasma collected from malaria-exposed Indonesians during infection and 7-28 days after anti-malarial therapy, were assessed for HGXPRT recognition using CFSE proliferation, IFNgamma ELISPOT assay and ELISA. RESULTS: HGXPRT-specific T cell proliferation was found in 44% of patients during acute infection; in 80% of responders both CD4+ and CD8+ T cell subsets proliferated. Antigen-specific T cell proliferation was largely lost within 28 days of parasite clearance. HGXPRT-specific IFN-gamma production was more frequent 28 days after treatment than during acute infection. HGXPRT-specific plasma IgG was undetectable even in individuals exposed to malaria for at least two years. CONCLUSION: The prevalence of acute proliferative and convalescent IFNgamma responses to HGXPRT demonstrates cellular immunogenicity in humans. Further studies to determine minimal HGXPRT epitopes, the specificity of responses for Plasmodia and associations with protection are required. Frequent and robust T cell proliferation, high sequence conservation among Plasmodium species and absent IgG responses distinguish HGXPRT from other malaria antigens.

Picot S, Olliaro P, de Monbrison F, Bienvenu AL, Price RN, Ringwald P. 2009. A systematic review and meta-analysis of evidence for correlation between molecular markers of parasite resistance and treatment outcome in falciparum malaria. Malar J, 8 (1), pp. 89. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: An assessment of the correlation between anti-malarial treatment outcome and molecular markers would improve the early detection and monitoring of drug resistance by Plasmodium falciparum. The purpose of this systematic review was to determine the risk of treatment failure associated with specific polymorphisms in the parasite genome or gene copy number. METHODS: Clinical studies of non-severe malaria reporting on target genetic markers (SNPs for pfmdr1, pfcrt, dhfr, dhps, gene copy number for pfmdr1) providing complete information on inclusion criteria, outcome, follow up and genotyping, were included. Three investigators independently extracted data from articles. Results were stratified by gene, codon, drug and duration of follow-up. For each study and aggregate data the random effect odds ratio (OR) with 95%CIs was estimated and presented as Forest plots. An OR with a lower 95th confidence interval > 1 was considered consistent with a failure being associated to a given gene mutation. RESULTS: 92 studies were eligible among the selection from computerized search, with information on pfcrt (25/159 studies), pfmdr1 (29/236 studies), dhfr (18/373 studies), dhps (20/195 studies). The risk of therapeutic failure after chloroquine was increased by the presence of pfcrt K76T (Day 28, OR = 7.2 [95%CI: 4.5-11.5]), pfmdr1 N86Y was associated with both chloroquine (Day 28, OR = 1.8 [95%CI: 1.3-2.4]) and amodiaquine failures (OR = 5.4 [95%CI: 2.6-11.3, p < 0.001]). For sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine the dhfr single (S108N) (Day 28, OR = 3.5 [95%CI: 1.9-6.3]) and triple mutants (S108N, N51I, C59R) (Day 28, OR = 3.1 [95%CI: 2.0-4.9]) and dhfr-dhps quintuple mutants (Day 28, OR = 5.2 [95%CI: 3.2-8.8]) also increased the risk of treatment failure. Increased pfmdr1 copy number was correlated with treatment failure following mefloquine (OR = 8.6 [95%CI: 3.3-22.9]). CONCLUSION: When applying the selection procedure for comparative analysis, few studies fulfilled all inclusion criteria compared to the large number of papers identified, but heterogeneity was limited. Genetic molecular markers were related to an increased risk of therapeutic failure. Guidelines are discussed and a checklist for further studies is proposed.

Anstey NM, Russell B, Yeo TW, Price RN. 2009. The pathophysiology of vivax malaria. Trends Parasitol, 25 (5), pp. 220-227. | Show Abstract | Read more

Long considered a benign infection, Plasmodium vivax is now recognized as a cause of severe and fatal malaria, despite its low parasite biomass, the increased deformability of vivax-infected red blood cells and an apparent paucity of parasite sequestration. Severe anemia is associated with recurrent bouts of hemolysis of predominantly uninfected erythrocytes with increased fragility, and lung injury is associated with inflammatory increases in alveolar-capillary membrane permeability. Although rare, vivax-associated coma challenges our understanding of pathobiology caused by Plasmodium spp. Host and parasite factors contribute to the risk of severe disease, and comorbidities might contribute to vivax mortality. In this review, we discuss potential mechanisms underlying the syndromes of uncomplicated and severe vivax malaria, identifying key areas for future research.

Minigo G, Woodberry T, Piera KA, Salwati E, Tjitra E, Kenangalem E, Price RN, Engwerda CR, Anstey NM, Plebanski M. 2009. Parasite-dependent expansion of TNF receptor II-positive regulatory T cells with enhanced suppressive activity in adults with severe malaria. PLoS Pathog, 5 (4), pp. e1000402. | Show Abstract | Read more

Severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria is a major cause of global mortality, yet the immunological factors underlying progression to severe disease remain unclear. CD4(+)CD25(+) regulatory T cells (Treg cells) are associated with impaired T cell control of Plasmodium spp infection. We investigated the relationship between Treg cells, parasite biomass, and P. falciparum malaria disease severity in adults living in a malaria-endemic region of Indonesia. CD4(+)CD25(+)Foxp3(+)CD127(lo) Treg cells were significantly elevated in patients with uncomplicated (UM; n = 17) and severe malaria (SM; n = 16) relative to exposed asymptomatic controls (AC; n = 10). In patients with SM, Treg cell frequency correlated positively with parasitemia (r = 0.79, p = 0.0003) and total parasite biomass (r = 0.87, p<0.001), both major determinants for the development of severe and fatal malaria, and Treg cells were significantly increased in hyperparasitemia. There was a further significant correlation between Treg cell frequency and plasma concentrations of soluble tumor necrosis factor receptor II (TNFRII) in SM. A subset of TNFRII(+) Treg cells with high expression of Foxp3 was increased in severe relative to uncomplicated malaria. In vitro, P. falciparum-infected red blood cells dose dependently induced TNFRII(+)Foxp3(hi) Treg cells in PBMC from malaria-unexposed donors which showed greater suppressive activity than TNFRII(-) Treg cells. The selective enrichment of the Treg cell compartment for a maximally suppressive TNFRII(+)Foxp3(hi) Treg subset in severe malaria provides a potential link between immune suppression, increased parasite biomass, and malaria disease severity. The findings caution against the induction of TNFRII(+)Foxp3(hi) Treg cells when developing effective malaria vaccines.

Price RN, Dorsey G, Nosten F. 2009. Antimalarial therapies in children from Papua New Guinea. N Engl J Med, 360 (12), pp. 1254. | Read more

Hasugian AR, Tjitra E, Ratcliff A, Siswantoro H, Kenangalem E, Wuwung RM, Purba HL, Piera KA, Chalfien F, Marfurt J et al. 2009. In vivo and in vitro efficacy of amodiaquine monotherapy for treatment of infection by chloroquine-resistant Plasmodium vivax. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 53 (3), pp. 1094-1099. | Show Abstract | Read more

Amodiaquine retains efficacy against infection by chloroquine-resistant Plasmodium falciparum; however, little information is available on its efficacy against infection by chloroquine-resistant Plasmodium vivax. Patients presenting to a rural clinic with a pure P. vivax infection that recurred after recent antimalarial treatment were retreated, this time with amodiaquine monotherapy, and the risk of further recurrence within 4 weeks was assessed. Of the 87 patients with pure P. vivax infection, 15 patients did not complete a full course of treatment, 4 of whom were intolerant to treatment. In the 72 patients completing treatment, 91% (63 of 69) had cleared their parasitemia within 48 h with no early treatment failure. Follow-up to day 28 or recurrent parasitemia was achieved for 56 patients (78%). The cumulative incidence of treatment failure by day 28 was 22.8% (95% confidence interval, 7.3 to 38%). The in vitro sensitivity profile was determined for a separate set of isolates from outpatients with pure P. vivax infection. The median 50% inhibitory concentration of amodiaquine was 11.3 nM (range, 0.37 to 95.8) and was correlated significantly with that of chloroquine (Spearman rank correlation coefficient, 0.602; P < 0.001). Although amodiaquine results in a rapid clinical response, the risk of recurrence by day 28 is unacceptably high, reducing its suitability as an alternative treatment of infection by chloroquine-resistant P. vivax in this region.

Handayani S, Chiu DT, Tjitra E, Kuo JS, Lampah D, Kenangalem E, Renia L, Snounou G, Price RN, Anstey NM, Russell B. 2009. High deformability of Plasmodium vivax-infected red blood cells under microfluidic conditions. J Infect Dis, 199 (3), pp. 445-450. | Show Abstract | Read more

Maturation of Plasmodium falciparum decreases the deformability of infected red blood cells (RBCs), increasing their clearance as they attempt to pass through endothelial slits of the splenic sinus. Previous studies of Plasmodium vivax-infected RBCs led to opposite conclusions with respect to cellular deformability. To resolve this controversy, P. vivax-infected RBCs were passed through a 2-microm microfluidic channel. In contrast to P. falciparum-infected RBCs, mature P. vivax-infected RBCs readily became deformed through 2-microm constrictions. After this extreme deformation, 67% of P. vivax-infected RBCs recovered a normal appearance; however, 15% of uninfected RBCs were destroyed. Results suggest mechanisms for both avoidance of splenic clearance and anemia in vivax malaria.

Carrara VI, Zwang J, Ashley EA, Price RN, Stepniewska K, Barends M, Brockman A, Anderson T, McGready R, Phaiphun L et al. 2009. Changes in the treatment responses to artesunate-mefloquine on the northwestern border of Thailand during 13 years of continuous deployment. PLoS One, 4 (2), pp. e4551. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Artemisinin combination treatments (ACT) are recommended as first line treatment for falciparum malaria throughout the malaria affected world. We reviewed the efficacy of a 3-day regimen of mefloquine and artesunate regimen (MAS(3)), over a 13 year period of continuous deployment as first-line treatment in camps for displaced persons and in clinics for migrant population along the Thai-Myanmar border. METHODS AND FINDINGS: 3,264 patients were enrolled in prospective treatment trials between 1995 and 2007 and treated with MAS(3). The proportion of patients with parasitaemia persisting on day-2 increased significantly from 4.5% before 2001 to 21.9% since 2002 (p<0.001). Delayed parasite clearance was associated with increased risk of developing gametocytaemia (AOR = 2.29; 95% CI, 2.00-2.69, p = 0.002). Gametocytaemia on admission and carriage also increased over the years (p = 0.001, test for trend, for both). MAS(3) efficacy has declined slightly but significantly (Hazards ratio 1.13; 95% CI, 1.07-1.19, p<0.001), although efficacy in 2007 remained well within acceptable limits: 96.5% (95% CI, 91.0-98.7). The in vitro susceptibility of P. falciparum to artesunate increased significantly until 2002, but thereafter declined to levels close to those of 13 years ago (geometric mean in 2007: 4.2 nM/l; 95% CI, 3.2-5.5). The proportion of infections caused by parasites with increased pfmdr1 copy number rose from 30% (12/40) in 1996 to 53% (24/45) in 2006 (p = 0.012, test for trend). CONCLUSION: Artesunate-mefloquine remains a highly efficacious antimalarial treatment in this area despite 13 years of widespread intense deployment, but there is evidence of a modest increase in resistance. Of particular concern is the slowing of parasitological response to artesunate and the associated increase in gametocyte carriage.

Verret WJ, Dorsey G, Nosten F, Price RN. 2009. The effect of varying analytical methods on estimates of anti-malarial clinical efficacy. Malar J, 8 (1), pp. 77. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Analytical approaches for the interpretation of anti-malarial clinical trials vary considerably. The aim of this study was to quantify the magnitude of the differences between efficacy estimates derived from these approaches and identify the factors underlying these differences. METHODS: Data from studies conducted in Africa and Thailand were compiled and the risk estimates of treatment failure, adjusted and unadjusted by genotyping, were derived by three methods (intention to treat (ITT), modified intention to treat (mITT) and per protocol (PP)) and then compared. RESULTS: 29 clinical trials (15 from Africa and 14 from Thailand) with a total of 65 treatment arms (38 from Africa and 27 from Thailand) were included in the analysis. Of the 15,409 patients enrolled, 2,637 (17.1%) had incomplete follow up for the unadjusted analysis and 4,489 (33.4%) for the adjusted analysis. Estimates of treatment failure were consistently higher when derived from the ITT or PP analyses compared to the mITT approach. In the unadjusted analyses the median difference between the ITT and mITT estimates was greater in Thai studies (11.4% [range 2.1-31.8]) compared to African Studies (1.8% [range 0-11.7]). In the adjusted analyses the median difference between PP and mITT estimates was 1.7%, but ranged from 0 to 30.9%. The discrepancy between estimates was correlated significantly with the proportion of patients with incomplete follow-up; p < 0.0001. The proportion of studies with a major difference (> 5%) between adjusted PP and mITT was 28% (16/57), with the risk difference greater in African (37% 14/38) compared to Thai studies (11% 2/19). In the African studies, a major difference in the adjusted estimates was significantly more likely in studies in high transmission sites (62% 8/13) compared to studies in moderate transmission sites (24% 6/25); p = 0.035. CONCLUSION: Estimates of anti-malarial clinical efficacy vary significantly depending on the analytical methodology from which they are derived. In order to monitor temporal and spatial trends in anti-malarial efficacy, standardized analytical tools need to be applied in a transparent and systematic manner.

Simpson JA, Jamsen KM, Price RN, White NJ, Lindegardh N, Tarning J, Duffull SB. 2009. Towards optimal design of anti-malarial pharmacokinetic studies. Malar J, 8 (1), pp. 189. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Characterization of anti-malarial drug concentration profiles is necessary to optimize dosing, and thereby optimize cure rates and reduce both toxicity and the emergence of resistance. Population pharmacokinetic studies determine the drug concentration time profiles in the target patient populations, including children who have limited sampling options. Currently, population pharmacokinetic studies of anti-malarial drugs are designed based on logistical, financial and ethical constraints, and prior knowledge of the drug concentration time profile. Although these factors are important, the proposed design may be unable to determine the desired pharmacokinetic profile because there was no formal consideration of the complex statistical models used to analyse the drug concentration data. METHODS: Optimal design methods incorporate prior knowledge of the pharmacokinetic profile of the drug, the statistical methods used to analyse data from population pharmacokinetic studies, and also the practical constraints of sampling the patient population. The methods determine the statistical efficiency of the design by evaluating the information of the candidate study design prior to the pharmacokinetic study being conducted. RESULTS: In a hypothetical population pharmacokinetic study of intravenous artesunate, where the number of patients and blood samples to be assayed was constrained to be 50 and 200 respectively, an evaluation of varying elementary designs using optimal design methods found that the designs with more patients and less samples per patient improved the precision of the pharmacokinetic parameters and inter-patient variability, and the overall statistical efficiency by at least 50%. CONCLUSION: Optimal design methods ensure that the proposed study designs for population pharmacokinetic studies are robust and efficient. It is unethical to continue conducting population pharmacokinetic studies when the sampling schedule may be insufficient to estimate precisely the pharmacokinetic profile.

Stepniewska K, Price RN, Sutherland CJ, Drakeley CJ, von Seidlein L, Nosten F, White NJ. 2008. Plasmodium falciparum gametocyte dynamics in areas of different malaria endemicity. Malar J, 7 (1), pp. 249. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to identify and compare factors associated with Plasmodium falciparum gametocyte carriage in three regions of differing malaria endemicity. METHODS: Retrospective data from Thailand, The Gambia and Tanzania were used. The data came from large prospective field-based clinical trials, which investigated gametocyte carriage after different anti-malarial drug treatments. RESULTS: Gametocytaemia was detected during the observation period in 12% of patients (931 out of 7548) in Thailand, 34% (683 out of 2020) in The Gambia, and 31% (430 out of 1400) in Tanzania (p < 0.001). Approximately one third (33%, 680/2044) of the patients with gametocytaemia during the observation period, already had patent gametocytaemia at enrolment (day 0 or day 1): 35% (318/931) in Thailand, 37% (250/683) in The Gambia, 26% (112/430) in Tanzania. Maximum gametocytaemia was usually observed on or before the seventh day after starting treatment (93% in Thailand, 70% in Tanzania and 78% in The Gambia). Lowest gametocyte carriage rates were observed following treatment with artemisinin derivatives, while sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) was associated with significantly greater development of gametocytaemia than other drug treatments (p < 0.001). The duration of gametocyte carriage was shorter in Thailand by 86% and Tanzania by 65% than in The Gambia. Gametocyte carriage was 27% longer among people presenting with anaemia, and was shorter in duration among patients who received artemisinin derivatives, by 27% in Thailand and by 71% in Tanzania and The Gambia. CONCLUSION: This study confirms the independent association of gametocytaemia with anaemia, and the significantly lower prevalence and duration of gametocyte carriage following treatment with an artemisinin derivative. The large differences in gametocyte carriage rates between regions with different levels of malaria transmission suggest that drug interventions to prevent transmission will have different effects in different places.

Yeo TW, Rooslamiati I, Gitawati R, Tjitra E, Lampah DA, Kenangalem E, McNeil YR, Price RN, Anstey NM, Duffull SB. 2008. Pharmacokinetics of L-arginine in adults with moderately severe malaria. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 52 (12), pp. 4381-4387. | Show Abstract | Read more

Severe malaria is associated with decreased nitric oxide (NO) production and low plasma concentrations of L-arginine, the substrate for NO synthase. Supplementation with L-arginine has the potential to improve NO bioavailability and outcomes. We developed a pharmacokinetic model for L-arginine in moderately severe malaria to explore the concentration-time profile and identify important covariates. In doses of 3, 6, or 12 g,L-arginine was infused over 30 min to 30 adults with moderately severe malaria, and plasma concentrations were measured at 8 to 11 time points. Patients who had not received L-arginine were also assessed and included in the model. The data were analyzed using a population approach with NONMEM software. A two-compartment linear model with first-order elimination best described the data, with a clearance of 44 liters/h (coefficient of variation [CV] = 52%) and a volume of distribution of 24 liters (CV = 19%). The natural time course of L-arginine recovery was described empirically by a second-order polynomial with a time to half recovery of 26 h. The half-life of exogenous L-arginine was reduced in patients with malaria compared with that for healthy adults. Weight and ethnicity were significant covariates for clearance. MATLAB simulations of dosing schedules for use in future studies predicted that 12 g given over 6, 8, or 12 h will provide concentrations above the K(m) of endothelial cell CAT-1 transporters in 90%, 75%, and 60% of patients, respectively.

Suwanarusk R, Chavchich M, Russell B, Jaidee A, Chalfein F, Barends M, Prasetyorini B, Kenangalem E, Piera KA, Lek-Uthai U et al. 2008. Amplification of pvmdr1 associated with multidrug-resistant Plasmodium vivax. J Infect Dis, 198 (10), pp. 1558-1564. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Multidrug-resistant strains of Plasmodium vivax are emerging in Southeast Asia. METHODS: In vitro drug susceptibility and pvmdr1 genotype were determined in P. vivax field isolates from Indonesia and Thailand. RESULTS: Increased pvmdr1 copy number was present in 21% of isolates from Thailand (15/71) and none from Indonesia (0/114; P < .001). Compared with Indonesian isolates, the median IC(50) of Thai isolates was lower for chloroquine (36 vs. 114 nmol/L; P < .001) but higher for amodiaquine (34 vs. 13.7 nmol/L; P = .032), artesunate (8.33 vs. 1.58 nmol/L; P < .001), and mefloquine (111 vs. 9.87 nmol/L; P < .001). In 11 cryopreserved Thai isolates, those with increased pvmdr1 copy number had a higher IC(50) for mefloquine (78.6 vs. 38 nmol/L for single-copy isolates; P = .006). Compared with isolates with the wild-type allele, the Y976F mutation of pvmdr1 was associated with reduced susceptibility to chloroquine (154 nmol/L [range, 4.6-3505] vs. 34 nmol/L [range, 6.7-149]; P < .001) but greater susceptibility to artesunate (1.8 vs. 9.5 nmol/L; P = .009) and mefloquine (14 vs. 121 nmol/L; P < .001). CONCLUSIONS: Amplification of pvmdr1 and single-nucleotide polymorphisms are correlated with susceptibility of P. vivax to multiple antimalarial drugs. Chloroquine and mefloquine appear to exert competitive evolutionary pressure on pvmdr1, similar to that observed with pfmdr1 in Plasmodium falciparum.

Yeo TW, Lampah DA, Gitawati R, Tjitra E, Kenangalem E, Piera K, Price RN, Duffull SB, Celermajer DS, Anstey NM. 2008. Angiopoietin-2 is associated with decreased endothelial nitric oxide and poor clinical outcome in severe falciparum malaria. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 105 (44), pp. 17097-17102. | Show Abstract | Read more

Adherence of parasitized erythrocytes to activated endothelium causes microvascular obstruction, tissue ischemia, and clinical complications in severe malaria (SM); however, the mechanisms leading to endothelial activation remain unclear. The angiogenic factors, angiopoietin-2 (Ang-2) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) are modulators of endothelial activation, with Ang-2 release from Weibel-Palade bodies (WPBs) being regulated by endothelial nitric oxide (NO). We explored the relationships between endothelial NO bioavailability, Ang-2, VEGF, tissue perfusion, and clinical outcomes in SM. We measured plasma Ang-2 and VEGF, together with biomarkers of severity from 146 adults with and without SM, in parallel with longitudinal measures of endothelial function by using reactive hyperemia peripheral arterial tonometry (a measure of endothelial NO bioavailability). Regression was used to relate concentrations of Ang-2/VEGF with malaria disease severity, biomarkers of perfusion, endothelial activation, and parasite biomass. The longitudinal relationship between Ang-2 and endothelial function was assessed by using a mixed-effects model. Ang-2 concentrations were elevated in SM and associated with increased venous lactate, plasma intercellular cell adhesion molecule-1 concentrations, parasite biomass, and mortality. In contrast, VEGF concentrations were inversely associated with these biomarkers. Ang-2 concentrations were significantly better predictors of death than venous lactate (P = 0.03). Recovery of endothelial function was associated with falling concentrations of Ang-2. Ang-2 release from endothelial cells with reduced NO bioavailability is likely to contribute to endothelial activation, sequestered parasite biomass, impaired perfusion, and poor outcome in severe falciparum malaria. Agents that improve endothelial NO, reduce WPB exocytosis, and/or antagonize Ang-2 may have therapeutic roles in SM.

Yeo TW, Lampah DA, Gitawati R, Tjitra E, Kenangalem E, McNeil YR, Darcy CJ, Granger DL, Weinberg JB, Lopansri BK et al. 2008. Recovery of endothelial function in severe falciparum malaria: relationship with improvement in plasma L-arginine and blood lactate concentrations. J Infect Dis, 198 (4), pp. 602-608. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Severe malaria is characterized by microvascular obstruction, endothelial dysfunction, and reduced levels of L-arginine and nitric oxide (NO). L-Arginine infusion improves endothelial function in moderately severe malaria. Neither the longitudinal course of endothelial dysfunction nor factors associated with recovery have been characterized in severe malaria. METHODS: Endothelial function was measured longitudinally in adults with severe malaria (n = 49) or moderately severe malaria (n = 48) in Indonesia, using reactive hyperemia peripheral arterial tonometry (RH-PAT). In a mixed-effects model, changes in RH-PAT index values in patients with severe malaria were related to changes in parasitemia, lactate, acidosis, and plasma L-arginine concentrations. RESULTS: Among patients with severe malaria, the proportion with endothelial dysfunction fell from 94% (46/49 patients) to 14% (6/42 patients) before discharge or death (P < .001). In severe malaria, the median time to normal endothelial function was 49 h (interquartile range, 20-70 h) after the start of antimalarial therapy. The mean increase in L-arginine concentrations in patients with severe malaria was 11 micromol/L/24 h (95% confidence interval [CI], 9-13 micromol/L/24 h), from a baseline of 49 micromol/L (95% CI, 37-45 micromol/L). Improvement of endothelial function in patients with severe malaria correlated with increasing levels of L-arginine (r = 0.56; P = .008) and decreasing levels of lactate (r = -0.44; P = .001). CONCLUSIONS: Recovery of endothelial function in severe malaria is associated with recovery from hypoargininemia and lactic acidosis. Agents that can improve endothelial NO production and endothelial function, such as L-arginine, may have potential as adjunctive therapy early during the course of severe malaria.

Karyana M, Burdarm L, Yeung S, Kenangalem E, Wariker N, Maristela R, Umana KG, Vemuri R, Okoseray MJ, Penttinen PM et al. 2008. Malaria morbidity in Papua Indonesia, an area with multidrug resistant Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum. Malar J, 7 (1), pp. 148. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Multidrug resistance has emerged to both Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum and yet the comparative epidemiology of these infections is poorly defined. METHODS: All laboratory-confirmed episodes of malaria in Timika, Papua, Indonesia, presenting to community primary care clinics and an inpatient facility were reviewed over a two-year period. In addition information was gathered from a house-to-house survey to quantify the prevalence of malaria and treatment-seeking behaviour of people with fever. RESULTS: Between January 2004 and December 2005, 99,158 laboratory-confirmed episodes of malaria were reported, of which 58% (57,938) were attributable to P. falciparum and 37% (36,471) to P. vivax. Malaria was most likely to be attributable to pure P. vivax in children under one year of age (55% 2,684/4,889). In the household survey, the prevalence of asexual parasitaemia was 7.5% (290/3,890) for P. falciparum and 6.4% (248/3,890) for P. vivax. The prevalence of P. falciparum infection peaked in young adults aged 15-25 years (9.8% 69/707), compared to P. vivax infection which peaked in children aged 1 to 4 years (9.5% 61/642). Overall 35% (1,813/5,255) of people questioned reported a febrile episode in the preceding month. Of the 60% of people who were estimated to have had malaria, only 39% would have been detected by the surveillance network. The overall incidence of malaria was therefore estimated as 876 per 1,000 per year (Range: 711-906). CONCLUSION: In this region of multidrug-resistant P. vivax and P. falciparum, both species are associated with substantial morbidity, but with significant differences in the age-related risk of infection.

Dondorp AM, Lee SJ, Faiz MA, Mishra S, Price R, Tjitra E, Than M, Htut Y, Mohanty S, Yunus EB et al. 2008. The relationship between age and the manifestations of and mortality associated with severe malaria. Clin Infect Dis, 47 (2), pp. 151-157. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The reported case-fatality rate associated with severe malaria varies widely. Whether age is an independent risk factor is uncertain. METHODS: In a large, multicenter treatment trial conducted in Asia, the presenting manifestations and outcome of severe malaria were analyzed in relation to age. RESULTS: Among 1050 patients with severe malaria, the mortality increased stepwise, from 6.1% in children (age, <10 years) to 36.5% in patients aged >50 years (P<0.001). Compared with adults aged 21-50 years, the decreased risk of death among children (adjusted odds ratio, 0.06; 95% confidence interval, 0.01-0.23; P<0.001) and the increased risk of death among patients aged >50 years (adjusted odds ratio, 1.88; 95% confidence interval, 1.01-3.52; P<0.001) was independent of the variation in presenting manifestations. The incidence of anemia and convulsions decreased with age, whereas the incidence of hyperparasitemia, jaundice, and renal insufficiency increased with age. Coma and metabolic acidosis did not vary with age and were the strongest predictors of a fatal outcome. The number of severity signs at hospital admission also had a strong prognostic value. CONCLUSION: Presenting syndromes in severe malaria depend on age, although the incidence and the strong prognostic significance of coma and acidosis are similar at all ages. Age is an independent risk factor for a fatal outcome of the disease.

Woodberry T, Minigo G, Piera KA, Hanley JC, de Silva HD, Salwati E, Kenangalem E, Tjitra E, Coppel RL, Price RN et al. 2008. Antibodies to Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax merozoite surface protein 5 in Indonesia: species-specific and cross-reactive responses. J Infect Dis, 198 (1), pp. 134-142. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Merozoite surface protein (MSP) 5 is a candidate antigen for a malaria vaccine. In cross-sectional and longitudinal studies, we measured MSP5 antibody responses in Papuans with acute Plasmodium falciparum malaria, Plasmodium vivax malaria, and mixed P. falciparum and P. vivax malaria and in those with past exposure. METHODS: Enzyme-linked immunosorbant assay (ELISA) was used to quantitate antibody responses to P. falciparum MSP5 (PfMSP5) and P. vivax MSP5 (PvMSP5) in 82 subjects with P. falciparum infection, 86 subjects with P. vivax infection, 85 subjects with mixed infection, and 87 asymptomatic individuals. Longitudinal responses through day 28 were tested in 20 persons. Cross-reactivity was tested by competition ELISA. RESULTS: PfMSP5 or PvMSP5 immunoglobulin (Ig)Gwas detected in 39%-52% of subjects, and IgM was detected in 44%-72%. IgG responses were distributed equally between IgG3 and IgG1 for PfMSP5 but were predominantly IgG3 for PvMSP5. Although IgG responses were generally specific for PfMSP5 or PvMSP5, cross-species reactivity was found in 7 of 107 dual-positive responders. No significant difference was seen in the magnitude, frequency, or subclass of PfMSP5 or PvMSP5 IgG antibodies between groups. There was no significant association between antibody responses and therapeutic response. CONCLUSION: PfMSP5 and PvMSP5 were frequently recognized by short-lived, species-specific antibodies. Although infrequent, the cross-reactive MSP5 antibodies indicate that an appropriately formulated vaccine may elicit and/or enhance cross-species recognition, which may be very useful in areas where both parasites are endemic.

Lek-Uthai U, Suwanarusk R, Ruengweerayut R, Skinner-Adams TS, Nosten F, Gardiner DL, Boonma P, Piera KA, Andrews KT, Machunter B et al. 2008. Stronger activity of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 protease inhibitors against clinical isolates of Plasmodium vivax than against those of P. falciparum. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 52 (7), pp. 2435-2441. | Show Abstract | Read more

Recent studies using laboratory clones have demonstrated that several antiretroviral protease inhibitors (PIs) inhibit the growth of Plasmodium falciparum at concentrations that may be of clinical significance, especially during human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and malaria coinfection. Using clinical isolates, we now demonstrate the in vitro effectiveness of two HIV-1 aspartic PIs, saquinavir (SQV) and ritonavir (RTV), against P. vivax (n = 30) and P. falciparum (n = 20) from populations subjected to high levels of mefloquine and artesunate pressure on the Thailand-Myanmar border. The median 50% inhibitory concentration values of P. vivax to RTV and SQV were 2,233 nM (range, 732 to 7,738 nM) and 4,230 nM (range, 1,326 to 8,452 nM), respectively, both within the therapeutic concentration range commonly found for patients treated with these PIs. RTV was fourfold more effective at inhibiting P. vivax than it was at inhibiting P. falciparum, compared to a twofold difference in SQV sensitivity. An increased P. falciparum mdr1 copy number was present in 33% (3/9) of isolates and that of P. vivax mdr1 was present in 9% of isolates (2/22), but neither was associated with PI sensitivity. The inter-Plasmodium sp. variations in PI sensitivity indicate key differences between P. vivax and P. falciparum. PI-containing antiretroviral regimens may demonstrate prophylactic activity against both vivax and falciparum malaria in HIV-infected patients who reside in areas where multidrug-resistant P. vivax or P. falciparum is found.

Yeo TW, Lampah DA, Gitawati R, Tjitra E, Kenangalem E, Granger DL, Weinberg JB, Lopansri BK, Price RN, Celermajer DS et al. 2008. Safety profile of L-arginine infusion in moderately severe falciparum malaria. PLoS One, 3 (6), pp. e2347. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: L-arginine infusion improves endothelial function in malaria but its safety profile has not been described in detail. We assessed clinical symptoms, hemodynamic status and biochemical parameters before and after a single L-arginine infusion in adults with moderately severe malaria. METHODOLOGY AND FINDINGS: In an ascending dose study, adjunctive intravenous L-arginine hydrochloride was infused over 30 minutes in doses of 3 g, 6 g and 12 g to three separate groups of 10 adults hospitalized with moderately severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria in addition to standard quinine therapy. Symptoms, vital signs and selected biochemical measurements were assessed before, during, and for 24 hours after infusion. No new or worsening symptoms developed apart from mild discomfort at the intravenous cannula site in two patients. There was a dose-response relationship between increasing mg/kg dose and the maximum decrease in systolic (rho = 0.463; Spearman's, p = 0.02) and diastolic blood pressure (r = 0.42; Pearson's, p = 0.02), and with the maximum increment in blood potassium (r = 0.70, p<0.001) and maximum decrement in bicarbonate concentrations (r = 0.53, p = 0.003) and pH (r = 0.48, p = 0.007). At the highest dose (12 g), changes in blood pressure and electrolytes were not clinically significant, with a mean maximum decrease in mean arterial blood pressure of 6 mmHg (range: 0-11; p<0.001), mean maximal increase in potassium of 0.5 mmol/L (range 0.2-0.7 mmol/L; p<0.001), and mean maximal decrease in bicarbonate of 3 mEq/L (range 1-7; p<0.01) without a significant change in pH. There was no significant dose-response relationship with blood phosphate, lactate, anion gap and glucose concentrations. All patients had an uncomplicated clinical recovery. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Infusion of up to 12 g of intravenous L-arginine hydrochloride over 30 minutes is well tolerated in adults with moderately severe malaria, with no clinically important changes in hemodynamic or biochemical status. Trials of adjunctive L-arginine can be extended to phase 2 studies in severe malaria. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00147368.

Tjitra E, Anstey NM, Sugiarto P, Warikar N, Kenangalem E, Karyana M, Lampah DA, Price RN. 2008. Multidrug-resistant Plasmodium vivax associated with severe and fatal malaria: a prospective study in Papua, Indonesia. PLoS Med, 5 (6), pp. e128. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Multidrug-resistant Plasmodium vivax (Pv) is widespread in eastern Indonesia, and emerging elsewhere in Asia-Pacific and South America, but is generally regarded as a benign disease. The aim of the study was to review the spectrum of disease associated with malaria due to Pv and P. falciparum (Pf) in patients presenting to a hospital in Timika, southern Papua, Indonesia. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Data were prospectively collected from all patients attending the outpatient and inpatient departments of the only hospital in the region using systematic data forms and hospital computerised records. Between January 2004 and December 2007, clinical malaria was present in 16% (60,226/373,450) of hospital outpatients and 32% (12,171/37,800) of inpatients. Among patients admitted with slide-confirmed malaria, 64% of patients had Pf, 24% Pv, and 10.5% mixed infections. The proportion of malarial admissions attributable to Pv rose to 47% (415/887) in children under 1 y of age. Severe disease was present in 2,634 (22%) inpatients with malaria, with the risk greater among Pv (23% [675/2,937]) infections compared to Pf (20% [1,570/7,817]; odds ratio [OR] = 1.19 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.08-1.32], p = 0.001), and greatest in patients with mixed infections (31% [389/1,273]); overall p < 0.0001. Severe anaemia (haemoglobin < 5 g/dl) was the major complication associated with Pv, accounting for 87% (589/675) of severe disease compared to 73% (1,144/1,570) of severe manifestations with Pf (p < 0.001). Pure Pv infection was also present in 78 patients with respiratory distress and 42 patients with coma. In total 242 (2.0%) patients with malaria died during admission: 2.2% (167/7,722) with Pf, 1.6% (46/2,916) with Pv, and 2.3% (29/1260) with mixed infections (p = 0.126). CONCLUSIONS: In this region with established high-grade chloroquine resistance to both Pv and Pf, Pv is associated with severe and fatal malaria particularly in young children. The epidemiology of P. vivax needs to be re-examined elsewhere where chloroquine resistance is increasing.

Poespoprodjo JR, Fobia W, Kenangalem E, Lampah DA, Warikar N, Seal A, McGready R, Sugiarto P, Tjitra E, Anstey NM, Price RN. 2008. Adverse pregnancy outcomes in an area where multidrug-resistant plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum infections are endemic. Clin Infect Dis, 46 (9), pp. 1374-1381. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Plasmodium falciparum infection exerts a considerable burden on pregnant women, but less is known about the adverse consequences of Plasmodium vivax infection. METHODS: In Papua, Indonesia, where multiple drug resistance to both species has emerged, we conducted a cross-sectional hospital-based study to quantify the risks and consequences of maternal malaria. RESULTS: From April 2004 through December 2006, 3046 pregnant women were enrolled in the study. The prevalence of parasitemia at delivery was 16.8% (432 of 2570 women had infections), with 152 (35.2%) of these 432 infections being associated with fever. The majority of infections were attributable to P. falciparum (250 [57.9%]); 146 (33.8%) of the infections were attributable to P. vivax, and 36 (8.3%) were coinfections with both species. At delivery, P. falciparum infection was associated with severe anemia (hemoglobin concentration, <7 g/dL; odds ratio [OR], 2.8; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 2.0-4.0) and a 192 g (95% CI, 119-265) reduction in mean birth weight (P<.001). P. vivax infection was associated with an increased risk of moderate anemia (hemoglobin concentration, 7-11 g/dL; OR, 1.8; 95% CI, 1.2-2.9; P=.01) and a 108 g (95% CI, 17.5-199) reduction in mean birth weight (P<.019). Parasitemia was associated with preterm delivery (OR, 1.5; 95% CI, 1.1-2.0; P=.02) and stillbirth (OR, 2.3; 95% CI, 1.3-4.1; P=.007) but was not associated with these outcomes after controlling for the presence of fever and severe anemia, suggesting that malaria increases the risk of preterm delivery and stillbirth through fever and contribution to severe anemia rather than through parasitemia per se. CONCLUSIONS: These observations highlight the need for novel, safe, and effective treatment and prevention strategies against both multidrug-resistant P. falciparum and multidrug-resistant P. vivax infections in pregnant women in areas of mixed endemicity.

White NJ, Stepniewska K, Barnes K, Price RN, Simpson J. 2008. Simplified antimalarial therapeutic monitoring: using the day-7 drug level? Trends Parasitol, 24 (4), pp. 159-163. | Show Abstract | Read more

The blood concentration profiles of most antimalarial drugs vary considerably between patients. The interpretation of antimalarial drug trials evaluating efficacy and effectiveness would be improved considerably if the exposure of the infecting parasite population to the antimalarial drug treatment could be measured. Artemisinin combination treatments are now recommended as first-line drugs for the treatment of falciparum malaria. Measurement of the blood, serum or plasma concentration of the slowly eliminated partner antimalarial drug on day 7 of follow-up is simpler and might be a better determinant of therapeutic response than the area under the concentration-time curve. Measurement of the day-7 drug level should be considered as a routine part of antimalarial drug trials.

Russell B, Chalfein F, Prasetyorini B, Kenangalem E, Piera K, Suwanarusk R, Brockman A, Prayoga P, Sugiarto P, Cheng Q et al. 2008. Determinants of in vitro drug susceptibility testing of Plasmodium vivax. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 52 (3), pp. 1040-1045. | Show Abstract | Read more

In Papua, Indonesia, the antimalarial susceptibility of Plasmodium vivax (n = 216) and P. falciparum (n = 277) was assessed using a modified schizont maturation assay for chloroquine, amodiaquine, artesunate, lumefantrine, mefloquine, and piperaquine. The most effective antimalarial against P. vivax and P. falciparum was artesunate, with geometric mean 50% inhibitory concentrations (IC50s) (95% confidence intervals [CI]) of 1.31 nM (1.07 to 1.59) and 0.64 nM (0.53 to 0.79), respectively. In contrast, the geometric mean chloroquine IC50 for P. vivax was 295 nM (227 to 384) compared to only 47.4 nM (42.2 to 53.3) for P. falciparum. Two factors were found to significantly influence the in vitro drug response of P. vivax: the initial stage of the parasite and the duration of the assay. Isolates of P. vivax initially at the trophozoite stage had significantly higher chloroquine IC50s (478 nM [95% CI, 316 to 722]) than those initially at the ring stage (84.7 nM [95% CI, 45.7 to 157]; P < 0.001). Synchronous isolates of P. vivax and P. falciparum which reached the target of 40% schizonts in the control wells within 30 h had significantly higher geometric mean chloroquine IC50s (435 nM [95% CI, 169 to 1,118] and 55.9 nM [95% CI, 48 to 64.9], respectively) than isolates that took more than 30 h (39.9 nM [14.6 to 110.4] and 36.9 nM [31.2 to 43.7]; P < 0.005). The results demonstrate the marked stage-specific activity of chloroquine with P. vivax and suggest that susceptibility to chloroquine may be associated with variable growth rates. These findings have important implications for the phenotypic and downstream genetic characterization of P. vivax.

Sharrock WW, Suwanarusk R, Lek-Uthai U, Edstein MD, Kosaisavee V, Travers T, Jaidee A, Sriprawat K, Price RN, Nosten F, Russell B. 2008. Plasmodium vivax trophozoites insensitive to chloroquine. Malar J, 7 (1), pp. 94. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Plasmodium vivax is a major cause of malaria and is still primarily treated with chloroquine. Chloroquine inhibits the polymerization of haem to inert haemozoin. Free haem monomers are thought to catalyze oxidative damage to the Plasmodium spp. trophozoite, the stage when haemoglobin catabolism is maximal. However preliminary in vitro observations on P. vivax clinical isolates suggest that only ring stages (early trophozoites) are sensitive to chloroquine. In this study, the stage specific action of chloroquine was investigated in synchronous cryopreserved isolates of P. vivax. METHODS: The in vitro chloroquine sensitivity of paired ring and trophozoite stages from 11 cryopreserved P. vivax clinical isolates from Thailand and two Plasmodium falciparum clones (chloroquine resistant K1 and chloroquine sensitive FC27) was measured using a modified WHO microtest method and fluorometric SYBR Green I Assay. The time each stage was exposed to chloroquine treatment was controlled by washing the chloroquine off at 20 hours after the beginning of treatment. RESULTS: Plasmodium vivax isolates added to the assay at ring stage had significantly lower median IC50s to chloroquine than the same isolates added at trophozoite stage (median IC50 12 nM vs 415 nM p < 0.01). Although only 36% (4/11) of the SYBR Green I assays for P. vivax were successful, both microscopy and SYBR Green I assays indicated that only P. vivax trophozoites were able to develop to schizonts at chloroquine concentrations above 100 nM. CONCLUSION: Data from this study confirms the diminished sensitivity of P. vivax trophozoites to chloroquine, the stage thought to be the target of this drug. These results raise important questions about the pharmacodynamic action of chloroquine, and highlight a fundamental difference in the activity of chloroquine between P. vivax and P. falciparum.

Lee SJ, Stepniewska K, Anstey N, Ashley E, Barnes K, Binh TQ, D'Alessandro U, Day NP, de Vries PJ, Dorsey G et al. 2008. The relationship between the haemoglobin concentration and the haematocrit in Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Malar J, 7 (1), pp. 149. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Malaria is a very important cause of anaemia in tropical countries. Anaemia is assessed either by measurement of the haematocrit or the haemoglobin concentration. For comparisons across studies, it is often necessary to derive one measure from the other. METHODS: Data on patients with slide-confirmed uncomplicated falciparum malaria were pooled from 85 antimalarial drug trials conducted in 25 different countries, to assess the haemoglobin/haematocrit relationship at different time points in malaria. Using a linear random effects model, a conversion equation for haematocrit was derived based on 3,254 measurements from various time points (ranging from day 0 to day 63) from 1,810 patients with simultaneous measurements of both parameters. Haemoglobin was also estimated from haematocrit with the commonly used threefold conversion. RESULTS: A good fit was obtained using Haematocrit = 5.62 + 2.60 * Haemoglobin. On average, haematocrit/3 levels were slightly higher than haemoglobin measurements with a mean difference (+/- SD) of -0.69 (+/- 1.3) for children under the age of 5 (n = 1,440 measurements from 449 patients). CONCLUSION: Based on this large data set, an accurate and robust conversion factor both in acute malaria and in convalescence was obtained. The commonly used threefold conversion is also valid.

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Price RN, Tjitra E, Guerra CA, Yeung S, White NJ, Anstey NM. 2007. Vivax malaria: Neglected and not benign AMERICAN JOURNAL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE AND HYGIENE, 77 (6), pp. 79-87.

Price RN, Tjitra E, Guerra CA, Yeung S, White NJ, Anstey NM. 2007. Vivax malaria: neglected and not benign. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 77 (6 Suppl), pp. 79-87. | Show Abstract

Plasmodium vivax threatens almost 40% of the world's population, resulting in 132-391 million clinical infections each year. Most of these cases originate from Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific, although a significant number also occurs in Africa and South America. Although often regarded as causing a benign and self-limiting infection, there is increasing evidence that the overall burden, economic impact, and severity of disease from P. vivax have been underestimated. Malaria control strategies have had limited success and are confounded by the lack of access to reliable diagnosis, emergence of multidrug resistant isolates, the parasite's ability to transmit early in the course of disease and relapse from dormant liver stages at varying time intervals after the initial infection. Progress in reducing the burden of disease will require improved access to reliable diagnosis and effective treatment of both blood-stage and latent parasites, and more detailed characterization of the epidemiology, morbidity, and economic impact of vivax malaria. Without these, vivax malaria will continue to be neglected by ministries of health, policy makers, researchers, and funding bodies.

Price RN, Hasugian AR, Ratcliff A, Siswantoro H, Purba HL, Kenangalem E, Lindegardh N, Penttinen P, Laihad F, Ebsworth EP et al. 2007. Clinical and pharmacological determinants of the therapeutic response to dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine for drug-resistant malaria. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 51 (11), pp. 4090-4097. | Show Abstract | Read more

Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DHP) is an important new treatment for drug-resistant malaria, although pharmacokinetic studies on the combination are limited. In Papua, Indonesia, we assessed determinants of the therapeutic efficacy of DHP for uncomplicated malaria. Plasma piperaquine concentrations were measured on day 7 and day 28, and the cumulative risk of parasitological failure at day 42 was calculated using survival analysis. Of the 598 patients in the evaluable population 342 had infections with Plasmodium falciparum, 83 with Plasmodium vivax, and 173 with a mixture of both species. The unadjusted cumulative risks of recurrence were 7.0% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 4.6 to 9.4%) for P. falciparum and 8.9% (95% CI: 6.0 to 12%) for P. vivax. After correcting for reinfections the risk of recrudescence with P. falciparum was 1.1% (95% CI: 0.1 to 2.1%). The major determinant of parasitological failure was the plasma piperaquine concentration. A concentration below 30 ng/ml on day 7 was observed in 38% (21/56) of children less than 15 years old and 22% (31/140) of adults (P = 0.04), even though the overall dose (mg per kg of body weight) in children was 9% higher than that in adults (P < 0.001). Patients with piperaquine levels below 30 ng/ml were more likely to have a recurrence with P. falciparum (hazard ratio [HR] = 6.6 [95% CI: 1.9 to 23]; P = 0.003) or P. vivax (HR = 9.0 [95% CI: 2.3 to 35]; P = 0.001). The plasma concentration of piperaquine on day 7 was the major determinant of the therapeutic response to DHP. Lower plasma piperaquine concentrations and higher failure rates in children suggest that dose revision may be warranted in this age group.

Yeo TW, Lampah DA, Gitawati R, Tjitra E, Kenangalem E, McNeil YR, Darcy CJ, Granger DL, Weinberg JB, Lopansri BK et al. 2007. Impaired nitric oxide bioavailability and L-arginine reversible endothelial dysfunction in adults with falciparum malaria. J Exp Med, 204 (11), pp. 2693-2704. | Show Abstract | Read more

Severe falciparum malaria (SM) is associated with tissue ischemia related to cytoadherence of parasitized erythrocytes to microvascular endothelium and reduced levels of NO and its precursor, l-arginine. Endothelial function has not been characterized in SM but can be improved by l-arginine in cardiovascular disease. In an observational study in Indonesia, we measured endothelial function using reactive hyperemia-peripheral arterial tonometry (RH-PAT) in 51 adults with SM, 48 patients with moderately severe falciparum malaria (MSM), and 48 controls. The mean RH-PAT index was lower in SM (1.41; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.33-1.47) than in MSM (1.82; 95% CI = 1.7-2.02) and controls (1.93; 95% CI = 1.8-2.06; P < 0.0001). Endothelial dysfunction was associated with elevated blood lactate and measures of hemolysis. Exhaled NO was also lower in SM relative to MSM and controls. In an ascending dose study of intravenous l-arginine in 30 more patients with MSM, l-arginine increased the RH-PAT index by 19% (95% CI = 6-34; P = 0.006) and exhaled NO by 55% (95% CI = 32-73; P < 0.0001) without important side effects. Hypoargininemia and hemolysis likely reduce NO bioavailability. Endothelial dysfunction in malaria is nearly universal in severe disease, is reversible with l-arginine, and likely contributes to its pathogenesis. Clinical trials in SM of adjunctive agents to improve endothelial NO bioavailability, including l-arginine, are warranted.

Boonma P, Christensen PR, Suwanarusk R, Price RN, Russell B, Lek-Uthai U. 2007. Comparison of three molecular methods for the detection and speciation of Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum. Malar J, 6 (1), pp. 124. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Accurate diagnosis of Plasmodium spp. is essential for the rational treatment of malaria. Despite its many disadvantages, microscopic examination of blood smears remains the current "gold standard" for malaria detection and speciation. PCR assays offer an alternative to microscopy which has been shown to have superior sensitivity and specificity. Unfortunately few comparative studies have been done on the various molecular based speciation methods. METHODS: The sensitivity, specificity and cost effectiveness of three molecular techniques were compared for the detection and speciation of Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax from dried blood spots collected from 136 patients in western Thailand. The results from the three molecular speciation techniques (nested PCR, multiplex PCR, and real-time PCR) were used to develop a molecular consensus (two or more identical PCR results) as an alternative gold standard. RESULTS: According to the molecular consensus, 9.6% (13/136) of microscopic diagnoses yielded false negative results. Multiplex PCR failed to detect P. vivax in three mixed isolates, and the nested PCR gave a false positive P. falciparum result in one case. Although the real-time PCR melting curve analysis was the most expensive method, it was 100% sensitive and specific and least time consuming of the three molecular techniques investigated. CONCLUSION: Although microscopy remains the most appropriate method for clinical diagnosis in a field setting, its use as a gold standard may result in apparent false positive results by superior techniques. Future studies should consider using more than one established molecular methods as a new gold standard to assess novel malaria diagnostic kits and PCR assays.

Price RN, Dorsey G, Ashley EA, Barnes KI, Baird JK, d'Alessandro U, Guerin PJ, Laufer MK, Naidoo I, Nosten F 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.

Mytton OT, Ashley EA, Peto L, Price RN, La Y, Hae R, Singhasivanon P, White NJ, Nosten F. 2007. Electrocardiographic safety evaluation of dihydroartemisinin piperaquine in the treatment of uncomplicated falciparum malaria. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 77 (3), pp. 447-450. | Show Abstract

Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DP) could become a leading fixed combination malaria treatment worldwide. Although there is accumulating evidence of efficacy and safety from clinical trials, data on cardiotoxicity are limited. In two randomized controlled trials in Thailand, 56 patients had ECGs performed before treatment, 4 hours after the first dose, and 4 hours after the last dose. The mean (95% CI) changes in QTc interval (Bazett's correction) were 2 (-6 to 9) ms and 14 (7 to 21) ms, respectively. These small changes on the third day of treatment are similar to those observed elsewhere in the convalescent phase following antimalarial treatment with drugs known to have no cardiac effects and are therefore likely to result from recovery from acute malaria and not the treatment given. At therapeutic doses, DP does not have clinically significant effects on the electrocardiogram.

Anstey NM, Pain MCF, Price RN, Maguire GP. 2007. Tumor necrosis factor and increase in alveolar capillary barrier in malaria - Reply to Eisenhut JOURNAL OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, 196 (4), pp. 647-648. | Read more

Anstey NM, Price RN. 2007. Improving case definitions for severe malaria. PLoS Med, 4 (8), pp. e267. | Read more

Hasugian AR, Purba HL, Kenangalem E, Wuwung RM, Ebsworth EP, Maristela R, Penttinen PM, Laihad F, Anstey NM, Tjitra E, Price RN. 2007. Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine versus artesunate-amodiaquine: superior efficacy and posttreatment prophylaxis against multidrug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax malaria. Clin Infect Dis, 44 (8), pp. 1067-1074. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Antimalarial drug resistance is now well established in both Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax. In southern Papua, Indonesia, where both strains of plasmodia coexist, we have been conducting a series of studies to optimize treatment strategies. METHODS: We conducted a randomized trial that compared the efficacy and safety of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DHP) with artesunate-amodiaquine (AAQ). The primary end point was the overall cumulative parasitological failure rate at day 42. RESULTS: Of the 334 patients in the evaluable patient population, 185 were infected with P. falciparum, 80 were infected with P. vivax, and 69 were infected with both species. The overall parasitological failure rate at day 42 was 45% (95% confidence interval [CI], 36%-53%) for AAQ and 13% (95% CI, 7.2%-19%) for DHP (hazard ratio [HR], 4.3; 95% CI, 2.5-7.2; P<.001). Rates of both recrudescence of P. falciparum infection and recurrence of P. vivax infection were significantly higher after receipt of AAQ than after receipt of DHP (HR, 3.4 [95% CI, 1.2-9.4] and 4.3 [95% CI, 2.2-8.2], respectively; P<.001). By the end of the study, AAQ recipients were 2.95-fold (95% CI, 1.2- to 4.9-fold) more likely to be anemic and 14.5-fold (95% CI, 3.4- to 61-fold) more likely to have carried P. vivax gametocytes. CONCLUSIONS: DHP was more effective and better tolerated than AAQ against multidrug-resistant P. falciparum and P. vivax infections. The prolonged therapeutic effect of piperaquine delayed the time to P. falciparum reinfection, decreased the rate of recurrence of P. vivax infection, and reduced the risk of P. vivax gametocyte carriage and anemia.

Ratcliff A, Siswantoro H, Kenangalem E, Wuwung M, Brockman A, Edstein MD, Laihad F, Ebsworth EP, Anstey NM, Tjitra E, Price RN. 2007. Therapeutic response of multidrug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax to chloroquine and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine in southern Papua, Indonesia. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 101 (4), pp. 351-359. | Show Abstract | Read more

To determine the level of antimalarial drug resistance in southern Papua, Indonesia, we assessed the therapeutic efficacy of chloroquine plus sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (CQ+SP) for Plasmodium falciparum infections as well as CQ monotherapy for P. vivax infections. Patients with P. falciparum failing therapy were re-treated with unsupervised quinine+/-doxycycline therapy and those with P. vivax with either unsupervised quinine+/-doxycycline or amodiaquine. In total, 143 patients were enrolled in the study (103 treated with CQ+SP and 40 with CQ). Early treatment failures occurred in four patients (4%) with P. falciparum and six patients (15%) with P. vivax. The failure rate by Day 28 for P. vivax was 65% (95% CI 49-81). After PCR correction for re-infections, the Day 42 recrudescence rate for P. falciparum infections was 48% (95% CI 31-65). Re-treatment with unsupervised quinine+/-doxycycline resulted in further recurrence of malaria in 48% (95% CI 31-65) of P. falciparum infections and 70% (95% CI 37-100) of P. vivax infections. Eleven patients with recurrent P. vivax were re-treated with amodiaquine; there were no early or late treatment failures. In southern Papua, a high prevalence of drug resistance of P. falciparum and P. vivax exists both to first- and second-line therapies. Preliminary data indicate that amodiaquine retains superior efficacy compared with CQ for CQ-resistant P. vivax.

Ratcliff A, Siswantoro H, Kenangalem E, Maristela R, Wuwung RM, Laihad F, Ebsworth EP, Anstey NM, Tjitra E, Price RN. 2007. Two fixed-dose artemisinin combinations for drug-resistant falciparum and vivax malaria in Papua, Indonesia: an open-label randomised comparison. Lancet, 369 (9563), pp. 757-765. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The burden of Plasmodium vivax infections has been underappreciated, especially in southeast Asia where chloroquine resistant strains have emerged. Our aim was to compare the safety and efficacy of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine with that of artemether-lumefantrine in patients with uncomplicated malaria caused by multidrug-resistant P falciparum and P vivax. METHODS: 774 patients in southern Papua, Indonesia, with slide-confirmed malaria were randomly assigned to receive either artemether-lumefantrine or dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine and followed up for at least 42 days. The primary endpoint was the overall cumulative risk of parasitological failure at day 42 with a modified intention-to-treat analysis. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, trial number 00157833. FINDINGS: Of the 754 evaluable patients enrolled, 466 had infections with P falciparum, 175 with P vivax, and 113 with a mixture of both species. The overall risk of failure at day 42 was 43% (95% CI 38-48) for artemether-lumefantrine and 19% (14-23) for dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (hazard ratio=3.0, 95% CI 2.2-4.1, p<0.0001). After correcting for reinfections, the risk of recrudescence of P falciparum was 4.4% (2.6-6.2) with no difference between regimens. Recurrence of vivax occurred in 38% (33-44) of patients given artemether-lumefantrine compared with 10% (6.9-14.0) given dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (p<0.0001). At the end of the study, patients receiving dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine were 2.0 times (1.2-3.6) less likely to be anaemic and 6.6 times (2.8-16) less likely to carry vivax gametocytes than were those given artemether-lumefantrine. INTERPRETATION: Both dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine and artemether-lumefantrine were safe and effective for the treatment of multidrug-resistant uncomplicated malaria. However, dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine provided greater post-treatment prophylaxis than did artemether-lumefantrine, reducing P falciparum reinfections and P vivax recurrences, the clinical public-health importance of which should not be ignored.

Anstey NM, Handojo T, Pain MC, Kenangalem E, Tjitra E, Price RN, Maguire GP. 2007. Lung injury in vivax malaria: pathophysiological evidence for pulmonary vascular sequestration and posttreatment alveolar-capillary inflammation. J Infect Dis, 195 (4), pp. 589-596. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The mechanisms underlying lung injury in vivax malaria are not well understood. Inflammatory responses to Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax, to our knowledge, have not previously been compared at an organ level. METHODS: Respiratory symptoms and physiological aspects were measured longitudinally in Indonesian adults with uncomplicated vivax (n=50) and falciparum (n=50) malaria. Normal values were derived from 109 control subjects. Gas transfer was partitioned into its alveolar-capillary membrane (D(M)) and pulmonary capillary vascular (V(C)) components, to characterize the site and timing of impaired gas transfer. RESULTS: Mean baseline V(C) volume was significantly reduced in vivax and falciparum malaria, improving with treatment in each species. Baseline D(M) function was not impaired in either species. The progressive deterioration in D(M) function after treatment was statistically significant in vivax malaria but not in uncomplicated falciparum malaria. Oxygen saturation deteriorated after treatment in vivax but improved in falciparum malaria. CONCLUSIONS: The baseline reduction in V(C) volume but not in D(M) function suggests encroachment on V(C) volume by parasitized erythrocytes and suggests that P. vivax-infected erythrocytes may sequester within the pulmonary microvasculature. Progressive alveolar-capillary dysfunction after treatment of vivax malaria is consistent with a greater inflammatory response to a given parasite burden in P. vivax relative to that in P. falciparum.

Suwanarusk R, Russell B, Chavchich M, Chalfein F, Kenangalem E, Kosaisavee V, Prasetyorini B, Piera KA, Barends M, Brockman A et al. 2007. Chloroquine resistant Plasmodium vivax: in vitro characterisation and association with molecular polymorphisms. PLoS One, 2 (10), pp. e1089. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Treatment failure of chloroquine for P. vivax infections has reached high levels in the eastern provinces of Indonesia, however, in vitro characterization of chloroquine resistance and its associated molecular profile have yet to be determined. METHODS: Using a modified schizont maturation assay we investigated the in vitro chloroquine susceptibility profile and molecular polymorphisms of P. vivax isolates collected from Papua, Indonesia, where high levels of clinical chloroquine treatment failure have been reported, and from Thailand, where chloroquine treatment is generally effective. RESULTS: The geometric mean chloroquine IC(50) for P. vivax isolates from Papua (n = 145) was 312 nM [95%CI: 237-411 nM] compared to 46.8 nM [95%CI: 34.7-63.1 nM] from Thailand (n = 81); p<0.001. Correlating with the known clinical efficacy of the area, a cut off for chloroquine resistance was defined as 220 nM, a level exceeded in 13.6% (11/81) of Thai isolates and 65% (94/145) of Papuan isolates; p<0.001. Several sequence polymorphisms in pvcrt-o and pvmdr1, and difference in pvmdr1 copy number were identified. A Y976F mutation in pvmdr1 was present in 96% (123/128) of Papuan isolates and 25% (17/69) of Thai isolates; p<0.001. Overall, the geometric mean chloroquine IC(50) in isolates with the Y976F mutation was 283 nM [95%CI: 211-379], compared to 44.5 nM [95%CI: 31.3-63.4] in isolates with the wild type; p< 0.001. Pvmdr1 amplification occurred in 23% (15/66) of Thai isolates compared to none (0/104) of Indonesian isolates (p<0.001), but was not associated with increased chloroquine resistance after controlling for geographical location. CONCLUSIONS: In vitro susceptibility testing of P. vivax discriminates between populations with differing levels of clinical efficacy of chloroquine. The pvmdr1 polymorphism at Y976F may provide a useful tool to highlight areas of emerging chloroquine resistance, although further studies defining its clinical correlates are needed.

Uhlemann AC, McGready R, Ashley EA, Brockman A, Singhasivanon P, Krishna S, White NJ, Nosten F, Price RN. 2007. Intrahost selection of Plasmodium falciparum pfmdr1 alleles after antimalarial treatment on the northwestern border of Thailand. J Infect Dis, 195 (1), pp. 134-141. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Increased pfmdr1 copy number is associated with reduced susceptibility to structurally unrelated antimalarial drugs. We assessed how administration of different antimalarial drugs altered pfmdr1 polymorphism in parasites from patients who experienced treatment failure. METHODS: In studies conducted on the northwestern border of Thailand, amplifications and single-nucleotide polymorphisms in pfmdr1 were compared before and after antimalarial drug treatment. RESULTS: Intrahost changes in pfmdr1 copy number were observed in 20% (26/132) of patients with recurrent infections. Among infections that recrudesced after mefloquine-containing regimens, increases in pfmdr1 copy number occurred in 68% (95% confidence interval [CI], 46%-85%), and decreases occurred in 2% (95% CI, 0.4%-11%) of isolates; corresponding proportions after artemether-lumefantrine were 25% (2/8) and 11% (2/19); after quinine, 50% (1/2) and 40% (4/10); and after artemisinins alone, 0% (0/10) and 19% (3/16) of isolates (overall P<.001). CONCLUSIONS: Intrahost selection based on pfmdr1 copy number occurs frequently in parasite populations within individual patients. Amplification confers multidrug resistance but probably imposes a significant fitness cost to the parasites.

Anstey NM, Pain MCF, Price RN, Maguire GP. 2007. Reply to Eisenhut The Journal of Infectious Diseases, 196 (4), pp. 647-648. | Read more

Plowe CV, Roper C, Barnwell JW, Happi CT, Joshi HH, Mbacham W, Meshnick SR, Mugittu K, Naidoo I, Price RN et al. 2007. World Antimalarial Resistance Network (WARN) III: molecular markers for drug resistant malaria. Malar J, 6 (1), pp. 121. | Show Abstract | Read more

Molecular markers for drug resistant malaria represent public health tools of great but mostly unrealized potential value. A key reason for the failure of molecular resistance markers to live up to their potential is that data on the their prevalence is scattered in disparate databases with no linkage to the clinical, in vitro and pharmacokinetic data that are needed to relate the genetic data to relevant phenotypes. The ongoing replacement of older monotherapies for malaria by new, more effective combination therapies presents an opportunity to create an open access database that brings together standardized data on molecular markers of drug resistant malaria from around the world. This paper presents a rationale for creating a global database of molecular markers for drug resistant malaria and for linking it to similar databases containing results from clinical trials of drug efficacy, in vitro studies of drug susceptibility, and pharmacokinetic studies of antimalarial drugs, in a World Antimalarial Resistance Network (WARN). This database will be a global resource, guiding the selection of first line drugs for treating uncomplicated malaria, for preventing malaria in travelers and for intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in pregnant women, infants and other vulnerable groups. Perhaps most important, a global database for molecular markers of drug resistant malaria will accelerate the identification and validation of markers for resistance to artemisinin-based combination therapies and, thereby, potentially prolong the useful therapeutic lives of these important new drugs.

Armedy R, Hotma L, Kanagalem E, Rumaseuw R, Ebsworth EP, Anstey NM, Tjitra E, Price RN. 2006. Amodiaquine plus artesunate versus dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine for drug resistant P.falciparum and P.vivax in Papua, Indonesia AMERICAN JOURNAL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE AND HYGIENE, 75 (5), pp. 208-208.

Yeo TW, Lampah DA, Kenangalem E, Gitawati R, Waramori G, McNeil Y, Duffull S, Tjitra E, Price RN, Celermajer D, Anstey NM. 2006. Impaired endothelial function in adults with severe falciparum malaria in Papua, Indonesia AMERICAN JOURNAL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE AND HYGIENE, 75 (5), pp. 286-286.

Yeo TW, Lampah DA, Kenangalem E, Gitawati R, Tjitra E, McNeil Y, Granger D, Lopansri B, Celermajer D, Price RN et al. 2006. L-arginine infusion increases no production and reverses endothelial dysfunction in adults with moderately severe falciparum malaria in Papua, Indonesia AMERICAN JOURNAL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE AND HYGIENE, 75 (5), pp. 98-99.

Lampah DA, Yeo TW, Kenangalem E, Gitawati R, Waramori G, Price RN, Lopansri B, Granger D, Sly P, Tjitra E, Anstey NM. 2006. Real-time bedside measurement of nitric oxide demonstrates impaired production in adults with severe malaria in papua, Indonesia AMERICAN JOURNAL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE AND HYGIENE, 75 (5), pp. 47-47.

Siswantoro H, Ratclif A, Kenangalem E, Wuwung M, Maristela R, Rumaseuw R, Laihad F, Ebsworth P, Anstey NM, Price RN, Tjitra E. Efficacy of existing antimalarial drugs for uncomplicated malaria in Timika, Papua, Indonesia Medical Journal of Indonesia, pp. 251-251. | Read more

Kosaisavee V, Suwanarusk R, Nosten F, Kyle DE, Barrends M, Jones J, Price R, Russell B, Lek-Uthai U. 2006. Plasmodium vivax: isotopic, PicoGreen, and microscopic assays for measuring chloroquine sensitivity in fresh and cryopreserved isolates. Exp Parasitol, 114 (1), pp. 34-39. | Show Abstract | Read more

In vitro susceptibility tests provide information on the intrinsic response of Plasmodium vivax to antimalarials, free from confounding factors such as host immunity or relapse. This study examined the utility of radioisotope and PicoGreen assays as alternatives to the traditional microscopic examination for assessing response of P. vivax to antimalarial drugs. There was no significant difference in the mean chloroquine IC(50) of P. vivax (n=40) as determined by the microscopic (33.4 ng/ml), isotopic (33.6 ng/ml), and PicoGreen (39.1 ng/ml) assays, respectively (F=0.239, df=2, 51, and p=0.788). However measurement of IC(50)s by the microscopic method was slightly more successful in producing valid assays (57%), compared to the isotopic (32.5%) and PicoGreen (45.5%) methods. In a paired comparison of 20 fresh and cryopreserved isolates as examined by the microscopic method, there were no significant differences between the mean IC(50) responses (T=1.58, df=15, and p=0.34). Detailed methodologies for the short time culture of field and cryopreserved P. vivax are described. Although the microscopic in vitro assay provides a useful method for characterizing the drug susceptibility phenotype of P. vivax isolates, its utility is limited by a laborious methodology and need for highly skilled microscopists. Future efforts should focus on further development of high throughput assays such as the PicoGreen assay as described in this study.

Price RN, Uhlemann AC, van Vugt M, Brockman A, Hutagalung R, Nair S, Nash D, Singhasivanon P, Anderson TJ, Krishna S et al. 2006. Molecular and pharmacological determinants of the therapeutic response to artemether-lumefantrine in multidrug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Clin Infect Dis, 42 (11), pp. 1570-1577. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Our study examined the relative contributions of host, pharmacokinetic, and parasitological factors in determining the therapeutic response to artemether-lumefantrine (AL). METHODS: On the northwest border of Thailand, patients with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria were enrolled in prospective studies of AL treatment (4- or 6-dose regimens) and followed up for 42 days. Plasma lumefantrine concentrations were measured by high performance liquid chromatography; malaria parasite pfmdr1 copy number was quantified using a real-time polymerase chain reaction assay (PCR), and in vitro drug susceptibility was tested. RESULTS: All treatments resulted in a rapid clinical response and were well tolerated. PCR-corrected failure rates at day 42 were 13% (95% confidence interval [CI], 9.6%-17%) for the 4-dose regimen and 3.2% (95% CI, 1.8%-4.6%) for the 6-dose regimen. Increased pfmdr1 copy number was associated with a 2-fold (95% CI, 1.8-2.4-fold) increase in lumefantrine inhibitory concentration(50) (P=.001) and an adjusted hazard ratio for risk of treatment failure following completion of a 4-dose regimen, but not a 6-dose regimen, of 4.0 (95% CI, 1.4-11; P=.008). Patients who had lumefantrine levels below 175 ng/mL on day 7 were more likely to experience recrudescence by day 42 (adjusted hazard ratio, 17; 95% CI, 5.5-53), allowing prediction of treatment failure with 75% sensitivity and 84% specificity. The 6-dose regimen ensured that therapeutic levels were achieved in 91% of treated patients. CONCLUSIONS: The lumefantrine plasma concentration profile is the main determinant of efficacy of artemether-lumefantrine. Amplification in pfmdr1 determines lumefantrine susceptibility and, therefore, treatment responses when plasma lumefantrine levels are subtherapeutic.

Anstey NM, Price RN, White NJ. 2006. Improving the availability of artesunate for treatment of severe malaria. Med J Aust, 184 (1), pp. 3-4.

Gupta R, Sarkar S, Balhara YP. 2012. Use of a 'microecologic technique' to study crime incidents around methadone maintenance treatment centers - a response: The journal publishes both invited and unsolicited letters. Addiction, 107 (10), pp. 1883. | Read more

Price RN, Ratcliff A, Siswantoro H, Kanangalem E, Rumaseuw R, Ebsworth EP, Anstey N, Tjitra E. 2005. Alternative treatment options for chloroquine resistant Plasmodium vivax in Papua, Indonesia AMERICAN JOURNAL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE AND HYGIENE, 73 (6), pp. 44-44.

Maguire GP, Handojo T, Pain MC, Kenangalem E, Price RN, Tjitra E, Anstey NM. 2005. Lung injury in uncomplicated and severe falciparum malaria: a longitudinal study in papua, Indonesia. J Infect Dis, 192 (11), pp. 1966-1974. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: In patients with severe malaria, acute respiratory distress syndrome usually develops after the start of drug treatment and is a major cause of death. Its pathogenesis is not well understood. METHODS: Respiratory symptom, spirometry, and gas transfer analyses were performed longitudinally in adults in Papua, Indonesia, with uncomplicated (n=50) and severe (n=30) falciparum malaria; normal values were derived from 109 control subjects. Gas transfer was partitioned into its alveolar-capillary membrane (D(M)) and pulmonary vascular (Vc) components, to characterize the site of impaired gas transfer. RESULTS: Cough was frequent in both patients with uncomplicated malaria (50%) and those with severe malaria (30%) and resolved by day 14. Reduced midexpiratory flow indicated obstruction of the small airways. Gas transfer was significantly impaired in patients with severe malaria. D(M) was reduced in patients with severe malaria but not in those with uncomplicated malaria and only returned to normal levels after 2 weeks. In patients with uncomplicated malaria, Vc was reduced at presentation but improved thereafter. In patients with severe malaria, Vc decreased with treatment and was lowest at day 7. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that pulmonary vascular occlusion occurs in both patients with uncomplicated malaria and those with severe malaria, likely from sequestration of both red blood cells (RBCs) and white blood cells. There was also impaired alveolar-capillary membrane function in patients with severe malaria but not in those with uncomplicated malaria. Persistent impairment long after clearance of parasitized RBCs suggests prolonged posttreatment inflammatory alveolar-capillary injury.

Stepniewska K, Taylor WR, Mayxay M, Price R, Smithuis F, Guthmann JP, Barnes K, Myint HY, Adjuik M, Olliaro P et al. 2004. In vivo assessment of drug efficacy against Plasmodium falciparum malaria: duration of follow-up. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 48 (11), pp. 4271-4280. | Show Abstract | Read more

To determine the optimum duration of follow-up for the assessment of drug efficacy against Plasmodium falciparum malaria, 96 trial arms from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) with follow-up of 28 days or longer that were conducted between 1990 and 2003 were analyzed. These trials enrolled 13,772 patients, and participating patients comprised 23% of all patients enrolled in RCTs over the past 40 years; 61 (64%) trial arms were conducted in areas where the rate of malaria transmission was low, and 58 (50%) trial arms were supported by parasite genotyping to distinguish true recrudescences from reinfections. The median overall failure rate reported was 10% (range, 0 to 47%). The widely used day 14 assessment had a sensitivity of between 0 and 37% in identifying treatment failures and had no predictive value. Assessment at day 28 had a sensitivity of 66% overall (28 to 100% in individual trials) but could be used to predict the true failure rate if either parasite genotyping was performed (r(2) = 0.94) or if the entomological inoculation rate was known. In the assessment of drug efficacy against falciparum malaria, 28 days should be the minimum period of follow-up.

Price RN, Uhlemann AC, Brockman A, McGready R, Ashley E, Phaipun L, Patel R, Laing K, Looareesuwan S, White NJ et al. 2004. Mefloquine resistance in Plasmodium falciparum and increased pfmdr1 gene copy number. Lancet, 364 (9432), pp. 438-447. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The borders of Thailand harbour the world's most multidrug resistant Plasmodium falciparum parasites. In 1984 mefloquine was introduced as treatment for uncomplicated falciparum malaria, but substantial resistance developed within 6 years. A combination of artesunate with mefloquine now cures more than 95% of acute infections. For both treatment regimens, the underlying mechanisms of resistance are not known. METHODS: The relation between polymorphisms in the P falciparum multidrug resistant gene 1 (pfmdr1) and the in-vitro and in-vivo responses to mefloquine were assessed in 618 samples from patients with falciparum malaria studied prospectively over 12 years. pfmdr1 copy number was assessed by a robust real-time PCR assay. Single nucleotide polymorphisms of pfmdr1, P falciparum chloroquine resistance transporter gene (pfcrt) and P falciparum Ca2+ ATPase gene (pfATP6) were assessed by PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism. FINDINGS: Increased copy number of pfmdr1 was the most important determinant of in-vitro and in-vivo resistance to mefloquine, and also to reduced artesunate sensitivity in vitro. In a Cox regression model with control for known confounders, increased pfmdr1 copy number was associated with an attributable hazard ratio (AHR) for treatment failure of 6.3 (95% CI 2.9-13.8, p<0.001) after mefloquine monotherapy and 5.4 (2.0-14.6, p=0.001) after artesunate-mefloquine therapy. Single nucleotide polymorphisms in pfmdr1 were associated with increased mefloquine susceptibility in vitro, but not in vivo. INTERPRETATION: Amplification in pfmdr1 is the main cause of resistance to mefloquine in falciparum malaria. RELEVANCE TO PRACTICE: Multidrug resistant P falciparum malaria is common in southeast Asia, but difficult to identify and treat. Genes that encode parasite transport proteins maybe involved in export of drugs and so cause resistance. In this study we show that increase in copy number of pfmdr1, a gene encoding a parasite transport protein, is the best overall predictor of treatment failure with mefloquine. Increase in pfmdr1 copy number predicts failure even after chemotherapy with the highly effective combination of mefloquine and 3 days' artesunate. Monitoring of pfmdr1 copy number will be useful in epidemiological surveys of drug resistance in P falciparum, and potentially for predicting treatment failure in individual patients.

Bannister B, Hatz C, Toovey S, Price R, Zuckerman JN. 2004. The role of standby emergency medication for falciparum malaria: current opinion Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease, 2 (3-4), pp. 119-126. | Show Abstract | Read more

Travellers to malaria-endemic destinations are at risk of significant disease and, sometimes, death. Current malaria protection strategies, including chemoprophylaxis, can never be completely effective. In some cases, protective measures are discontinued or misapplied while the risk of infection still exists. In others, suboptimal measures are used, or even no measures at all, because of poor information or inappropriate risk-benefit assessment. In very rare cases, inexplicable failure of prophylaxis occurs. If malaria is contracted whilst abroad the danger to the individual is often further compounded by a lack of high-quality medical facilities and an uncertain supply of effective drugs for treatment. The advent of newer, well tolerated, drugs for treating malaria provides an opportunity to review the role of standby emergency self-medication in travellers visiting or staying (for work or other reasons) in areas where there is a risk of contracting malaria. This article was prepared following a meeting convened in London on Africa Malaria Day in 2002, in which the current opinions of experts in travel medicine and specifically malaria were discussed. It reviews opinion on the current effectiveness and acceptance of prevention strategies, as well as the role of standby emergency medication for falciparum malaria. © 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

McKeage K, Scott L. 2003. Atovaquone/proguanil: a review of its use for the prophylaxis of Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Drugs, 63 (6), pp. 597-623. | Show Abstract | Read more

UNLABELLED: Atovaquone/proguanil is a fixed-dose combination tablet of two antimalarial agents and is highly effective for the prevention of Plasmodium falciparum malaria. In combination with proguanil, the ability of atovaquone to inhibit parasitic mitochondrial electron transport is markedly enhanced. Both atovaquone and proguanil are active against hepatic (pre-erythrocytic) stages of P. falciparum, thereby providing causal prophylaxis and eliminating the need to continue post-travel treatment beyond 7 days. Both agents are also active against erythrocytic stages of P. falciparum, thereby providing suppressive prophylaxis. Atovaquone/proguanil is highly effective against drug-resistant strains of P. falciparum, and cross-resistance has not been observed between atovaquone and other antimalarial agents. In comparative, randomised clinical trials, there were no cases of P. falciparum malaria in nonimmune adults, adolescents and children (>/=11 kg) visiting malaria-endemic regions for </=28 days and receiving atovaquone/proguanil (250/100 mg in adults and dosage based on bodyweight in children <40 kg) once daily. The efficacy for the prevention of P. falciparum malaria was estimated at 100% for atovaquone/proguanil and for mefloquine, and 70% for chloroquine plus proguanil. In individuals (>/=11 kg) from endemic regions who may carry some immunity to malaria (semi-immune), the prophylactic efficacy rating for atovaquone/proguanil based on placebo-controlled trials was 95-100%. Atovaquone/proguanil is generally well tolerated by both adults and children. The most common treatment-related adverse events in placebo-controlled trials were headache and abdominal pain, which occurred at a rate similar to that observed with placebo. Atovaquone/proguanil therapy was associated with significantly fewer gastrointestinal adverse events than chloroquine plus proguanil, and significantly fewer neuropsychiatric adverse events than mefloquine in nonimmune individuals. Significantly fewer recipients of atovaquone/proguanil discontinued treatment because of adverse events than individuals receiving chloroquine plus proguanil or mefloquine (p < 0.05). CONCLUSION: Atovaquone/proguanil is a fixed-dose combination antimalarial tablet that provides effective prophylaxis of P. falciparum malaria, including drug-resistant strains. Both atovaquone and proguanil are effective against hepatic stages of P. falciparum, which means that treatment need only continue for 7 days after leaving a malaria-endemic region. Atovaquone/proguanil was generally well tolerated and was associated with fewer gastrointestinal adverse events than chloroquine plus proguanil, and fewer neuropsychiatric adverse events than mefloquine. Thus, atovaquone/proguanil provides effective prophylaxis of P. falciparum malaria and compared with other commonly used antimalarial agents has an improved tolerability profile, and, overall, a more convenient dosage regimen, particularly in the post-travel period.

SImpson JA, Aarons L, Price R, White NJ. 2002. The influence of body weight on the pharmacokinetics of mefloquine. Br J Clin Pharmacol, 53 (3), pp. 337-338. | Read more

Price RN, Simpson JA, Nosten F, Luxemburger C, Hkirjaroen L, ter Kuile F, Chongsuphajaisiddhi T, White NJ. 2001. Factors contributing to anemia after uncomplicated falciparum malaria. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 65 (5), pp. 614-622. | Show Abstract

The factors contributing to anemia in falciparum malaria were characterized in 4,007 prospectively studied patients on the western border of Thailand. Of these, 727 patients (18%) presented with anemia (haematocrit < 30%), and 1% (55 of 5,253) required blood transfusion. The following were found to be independent risk factors for anemia at admission: age < 5 years, a palpable spleen, a palpable liver, recrudescent infections, being female, a prolonged history of illness (> 2 days) before admission, and pure Plasmodium falciparum infections rather than mixed P. falciparum and Plasmodium vivax infections. The mean maximum fractional fall in hematocrit after antimalarial treatment was 14.1% of the baseline value (95% confidence interval [CI], 13.6-14.6). This reduction was significantly greater in young children (aged < 5 years) and in patients with a prolonged illness, high parasitemia, or delayed parasite clearance. Loss of parasitized erythrocytes accounted for < 10% of overall red blood cell loss. Hematological recovery was usually complete within 6 weeks, but it was slower in patients who were anemic at admission (adjusted hazards ratio [AHR], 1.9, 95% CI, 1.5-2.3), and those whose infections recrudesced (AHR, 1.2, 95% CI, 1.01-1.5). Half the patients with treatment failure were anemic at 6 weeks compared with 19% of successfully treated patients (relative risk, 2.8, 95% CI, 2.0-3.8). Patients coinfected with P. vivax (16% of the total) were 1.8 (95% CI, 1.2-2.6) times less likely to become anemic and recovered 1.3 (95% CI, 1.0-1.5) times faster than those with P. falciparum only. Anemia is related to drug resistance and treatment failure in uncomplicated malaria. Children aged < 5 years of age were more likely than older children or adults to become anemic. Coinfection with P. vivax attenuates the anemia of falciparum malaria, presumably by modifying the severity of the infection.

Price RN, Nosten F. 2001. Drug resistant falciparum malaria: clinical consequences and strategies for prevention. Drug Resist Updat, 4 (3), pp. 187-196. | Show Abstract | Read more

The rising prevalence of multidrug resistant falciparum malaria is occurring at an alarming rate and has serious implications for the health of many of the world's poorest countries. The dangers of not changing treatment practices immediately are huge and irreversible, threatening to both exacerbate the scale and scope of the malaria pandemic, and deprive policymakers of future options against the disease. If a health care disaster is to be avoided then massive and long term funding is urgently required. Funds need to be applied in a cohesive manner, accountable to funding bodies and tailored to the specifics of each endemic region. The key elements of such an approach should be improving early diagnosis and treatment of infection and the deployment of combination regimens containing an artemisinin derivative. These short term measures will need to be accompanied by a longer term strategy to encourage antimalarial drug research and development.

Simpson JA, Watkins ER, Price RN, Aarons L, Kyle DE, White NJ. 2000. Mefloquine pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic models: implications for dosing and resistance. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 44 (12), pp. 3414-3424. | Show Abstract | Read more

Antimalarial resistance develops and spreads when spontaneously occurring mutant malaria parasites are selected by concentrations of antimalarial drug which are sufficient to eradicate the more sensitive parasites but not those with the resistance mutation(s). Mefloquine, a slowly eliminated quinoline-methanol compound, is the most widely used drug for the treatment of multidrug-resistant falciparum malaria. It has been used at doses ranging between 15 and 25 mg of base/kg of body weight. Resistance to mefloquine has developed rapidly on the borders of Thailand, where the drug has been deployed since 1984. Mathematical modeling with population pharmacokinetic and in vivo and in vitro pharmacodynamic data from this region confirms that, early in the evolution of resistance, conventional assessments of the therapeutic response </=28 days after treatment underestimate considerably the level of resistance. Longer follow-up is required. The model indicates that initial deployment of a lower (15-mg/kg) dose of mefloquine provides a greater opportunity for the selection of resistant mutants and would be expected to lead more rapidly to resistance than de novo use of the higher (25-mg/kg) dose.

Brockman A, Price RN, van Vugt M, Heppner DG, Walsh D, Sookto P, Wimonwattrawatee T, Looareesuwan S, White NJ, Nosten F. 2000. Plasmodium falciparum antimalarial drug susceptibility on the north-western border of Thailand during five years of extensive use of artesunate-mefloquine. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 94 (5), pp. 537-544. | Show Abstract | Read more

Following a marked decline in the efficacy in vivo of mefloquine between 1990 and 1994, a combination of artesunate (4 mg/kg/d for 3 d) and mefloquine (25 mg/kg) has been used as first line treatment of uncomplicated falciparum malaria in camps for displaced persons located along the north-western border of Thailand. Antimalarial drug susceptibility of fresh isolates of Plasmodium falciparum from this population was evaluated using a radioisotope microdilution assay between 1995 and 1999. In total, 268 isolates were collected, of which 189 were from primary infections and 79 from recrudescent infections. The geometric mean 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) values from primary infections were: dihydroartemisinin 1.2 ng/mL, artesunate 1.6 ng/mL, artemether 4.8 ng/mL, atovaquone 0.4 ng/mL, lumefantrine 32 ng/mL, chloroquine 149 ng/mL, quinine 354 ng/mL, mefloquine 27 ng/mL and halofantrine 4.1 ng/mL. A significant positive correlation was found between the susceptibility in vitro to artesunate and quinine (r = 0.43, P < 0.001), mefloquine (r = 0.46, P < 0.001), and halofantrine (r = 0.51, P < 0.001). These levels of resistance in vitro are among the highest reported and confirm continuing high level multidrug resistance in this area. Despite intensive use of the combination between 1995 and 1999 there has been a significant improvement in mefloquine sensitivity (P < 0.001) and artesunate sensitivity (P < 0.001). This supports observations in vivo that the combination of artesunate and mefloquine has reversed the previous decline in mefloquine sensitivity.

Price RN. 2000. Artemisinin drugs: novel antimalarial agents. Expert Opin Investig Drugs, 9 (8), pp. 1815-1827. | Show Abstract | Read more

Artemisinin and its derivatives, artesunate and artemether, represent a new class of antimicrobial drug with potent activity against Plasmodium falciparum. Although they show excellent efficacy in both severe and uncomplicated malaria, dosage regimens still need to be optimised and pharmacokinetic profiles defined. In the treatment of uncomplicated malaria, the artemisinin drugs should be used in combination with a long acting antimalarial to protect both drugs against the emergence of resistance. In the treatment of severe malaria, parenteral artemether is at least as effective as quinine and is simpler to use. The use of rectal preparations of artesunate and artemisinin at the rural health level will facilitate early initiation of the treatment of falciparum malaria and this may reduce the proportion of patients progressing to severe disease. All of the artemisinin drugs have comparable efficacy; the choice of derivative should be based upon availability, cost and quality of the preparation. Artemisinin, artesunate and artemether are well-tolerated in both adults and children, with no evidence to date of serious clinical toxicity.

Nosten F, van Vugt M, Price R, Luxemburger C, Thway KL, Brockman A, McGready R, ter Kuile F, Looareesuwan S, White NJ. 2000. Effects of artesunate-mefloquine combination on incidence of Plasmodium falciparum malaria and mefloquine resistance in western Thailand: a prospective study. Lancet, 356 (9226), pp. 297-302. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Worsening drug resistance in Plasmodium falciparum malaria is a major threat to health in tropical countries. We did a prospective study of malaria incidence and treatment in an area of highly multidrug-resistant P. falciparum malaria. METHODS: We assessed incidence of P. falciparum malaria and the in-vivo responses to mefloquine treatment over 13 years in two large camps for displaced Karen people on the northwest border of Thailand. During this time, the standard mefloquine dose was first increased, and then combined artesunate and mefloquine was introduced as first-line treatment for uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria. FINDINGS: Early detection and treatment controlled P. falciparum malaria initially while mefloquine was effective (cure rate with mefloquine [15 mg/kg] and sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine in 1985, 98% [95% CI 97-100]), but as mefloquine resistance developed, the cure rate fell (71% [67-77] in 1990). A similar pattern was seen for high-dose (25 mg/kg) mefloquine monotherapy from 1990-94. Since the general deployment of the artesunate-mefloquine combination in 1994, the cure rate increased again to almost 100% from 1998 onwards, and there has been a sustained decline in the incidence of P. falciparum malaria in the study area. In-vitro susceptibility of P. falciparum to mefloquine has improved significantly (p=0.003). INTERPRETATION: In this area of low malaria transmission, early diagnosis and treatment with combined artesunate and mefloquine has reduced the incidence of P. falciparum malaria and halted the progression of mefloquine resistance. We recommend that antimalarial drugs should be combined with artemisinin or a derivative to protect them against resistance.

Van Vugt M, Angus BJ, Price RN, Mann C, Simpson JA, Poletto C, Htoo SE, Looareesuwan S, White NJ, Nosten F. 2000. A case-control auditory evaluation of patients treated with artemisinin derivatives for multidrug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 62 (1), pp. 65-69. | Show Abstract

The artemisinin derivatives are now used widely in areas with multidrug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria such as Southeast Asia, but concerns remain over their potential for neurotoxicity. Mice, rats, dogs, and monkeys treated with high doses of intramuscular artemether or arteether develop an unusual pattern of focal damage to brain stem nuclei (particularly those involved in auditory processing). To investigate whether a similar toxic effect occurs in patients treated with these compounds, clinical neurologic evaluation, audiometry and early latency auditory evoked responses were measured in a single-blind comparison of 79 patients who had been treated with > or =2 courses of oral artemether or artesunate within the previous 3 years, and 79 age- and sex-matched controls living in a malaria-endemic area on the northwestern border of Thailand. There were no consistent differences in any of these test results between the cases and controls. This study failed to detect any evidence of significant neurotoxicity in patients treated previously with oral artemether or artesunate for acute malaria.

Price RN, Cassar C, Brockman A, Duraisingh M, van Vugt M, White NJ, Nosten F, Krishna S. 1999. The pfmdr1 gene is associated with a multidrug-resistant phenotype in Plasmodium falciparum from the western border of Thailand. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 43 (12), pp. 2943-2949. | Show Abstract

On the western border of Thailand, Plasmodium falciparum has become resistant to almost all antimalarial agents. The molecular basis of resistance in these parasite populations has not been well characterized. This study assessed genetic polymorphisms in the pfmdr1 gene in 54 parasites collected from the western border of Thailand to determine the relationship of pfmdr1 copy number and codon mutations with parasite sensitivities to mefloquine, chloroquine, halofantrine, quinine, and artesunate assessed in vitro. A point mutation at codon 86 (resulting in a change of Asn to Tyr) was associated with a significantly lower 50% inhibitory concentration (IC(50)) of mefloquine (median, 9 ng/ml versus 52.4 ng/ml; P = 0.003). Overall 35% of the isolates (19 of 54) had an increase in pfmdr1 copy number, and all 19 carried the wild-type allele at codon 86. Increased pfmdr1 copy number was associated with higher IC(50)s of mefloquine (P = 0.04) and artesunate (P = 0.005), independent of polymorphism at codon 86. The relationship between pfmdr1 and resistance to structurally distinct antimalarial agents confirms the presence of a true multidrug-resistant phenotype.

Paul RE, Brockman A, Price RN, Luxemburger C, White NJ, Looareesuwan S, Nosten F, Day KP. 1999. Genetic analysis of Plasmodium falciparum infections on the north-western border of Thailand. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 93 (6), pp. 587-593. | Show Abstract | Read more

Genetic characterization of Plasmodium falciparum infections in north-western Thailand, a region of low transmission intensity (1 infection/person each year), has found a comparable number of parasite genotypes per infected person to regions with hyperendemic malaria. Clone multiplicity and parasite diversity were found to be homogeneous across 129 infected individuals comprising a range of age-groups (1.32 parasite genotypes; n = 98), patients (aged 2-16 years) with recrudescent infections (1.54; n = 13), and pregnant women (1.61; n = 18). Individuals belonging to groups with a high risk of infection, as deduced by clinical epidemiology, did not harbour a higher number of clones per infection, nor greater parasite diversity than low-risk groups. In fact, multiple genotype infections were as common in low-risk groups, suggesting that there is frequent transmission of polyclonal infections from a single inoculum, rather than superinfection. Such a polyclonal transmission system would enable generation of extensive parasite diversity by recombination, despite the low level of transmission. However, co-infection with P. vivax was associated with fewer P. falciparum genotypes per infection.

Simpson JA, Price R, ter Kuile F, Teja-Isavatharm P, Nosten F, Chongsuphajaisiddhi T, Looareesuwan S, Aarons L, White NJ. 1999. Population pharmacokinetics of mefloquine in patients with acute falciparum malaria. Clin Pharmacol Ther, 66 (5), pp. 472-484. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVE: To construct a population pharmacokinetic model for mefloquine in the treatment of falciparum malaria. BACKGROUND: Mefloquine is the treatment of choice for multidrug-resistant falciparum malaria. The factors that influence the pharmacokinetic properties of mefloquine in acute malaria are not well characterized. METHODS: The pharmacokinetic properties of mefloquine were evaluated in 257 patients with acute falciparum malaria by use of nonlinear mixed-effects modeling. Two different oral dose regimens were used: (1) a split dose of 15 mg base/kg initially followed by 10 mg/kg 24 hours later (n = 159) and (2) a single dose of 25 mg/kg (n = 98). Mefloquine was combined with artesunate in 105 (41%) patients (74 received a split dose and 31 received a single dose). RESULTS: Splitting the mefloquine dose increased the area under the concentration-time curve [AUC(0-infinity)] by 50% (95% confidence interval [CI], 36% to 65%) for monotherapy and by 20% (95% CI, 3% to 40%) for combined therapy. The apparent volume of distribution (V/F) was significantly lower in patients receiving split doses of mefloquine monotherapy (mean, 8.14 L/kg; 95% CI, 7.49 to 8.86 L/kg) compared with a single dose (mean, 20.37 L/kg; 95% CI, 16.26 to 25.51 L/kg). Patients who received mefloquine monotherapy and cleared parasitemia in less than 48 hours had a significantly higher AUC(0-infinity) independent of any confounders, compared with patients with slower parasite clearance (geometric mean [95% CI], 50,373 ng/mL x day [46,121 to 55,017 ng/mL x day] versus 45,583 ng/mL x day [42,306 to 49,125 ng/mL x day]). CONCLUSIONS: The pharmacokinetic properties of mefloquine in malaria were relatively unaffected by demographic variables (other than body weight) or disease severity. If it is assumed that apparent clearance and volume of distribution are unaffected by dose regimen, then splitting the 25 mg/kg mefloquine dose improves oral bioavailability and the therapeutic response in the treatment of acute falciparum malaria.

Price R, Nosten F, Simpson JA, Luxemburger C, Phaipun L, ter Kuile F, van Vugt M, Chongsuphajaisiddhi T, White NJ. 1999. Risk factors for gametocyte carriage in uncomplicated falciparum malaria. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 60 (6), pp. 1019-1023. | Show Abstract

The factors affecting the development of patent Plasmodium falciparum gametocytemia were assessed in 5,682 patients entered prospectively into a series of antimalarial drug trials conducted in an area of low and seasonal transmission on the western border of Thailand. Of the 4,565 patients with admission thick smear assessments, 110 (2.4%) had gametocytemia. During the follow-up period 170 (3%) of all patients developed patent gametocytemia, which in 89% had developed by day 14 following treatment. In a multiple logistic regression model five factors were found to be independent risk factors at presentation for the development or persistence of gametocytemia during follow up; patent gametocytemia on admission (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 7.8, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 3.7-16, P < 0.001), anemia (hematocrit <30%) (AOR = 3.9, 95% CI = 2.3-6.5, P < 0.001), no coincident P. vivax malaria (AOR = 3.5, 95% CI = 1.04-11.5, P < 0.04), presentation with a recrudescent infection (AOR = 2.3, 95% CI = 1.3-4.1, P < 0.004), and a history of illness longer than two days (AOR = 3.3, 95% CI = 1.7-6.6, P < 0.001). Patients whose infections responded slowly to treatment or recrudesced subsequently were also more likely to carry gametocytes than those who responded rapidly or were cured (relative risks = 1.9, 95% CI = 1.3-2.7 and 2.8, 95% CI = 2.0-4.0, respectively; P < 0.001). These data provide further evidence of important epidemiologic interactions between P. falciparum and P. vivax, and drug resistance and transmission potential.

Price R, van Vugt M, Phaipun L, Luxemburger C, Simpson J, McGready R, ter Kuile F, Kham A, Chongsuphajaisiddhi T, White NJ, Nosten F. 1999. Adverse effects in patients with acute falciparum malaria treated with artemisinin derivatives. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 60 (4), pp. 547-555. | Show Abstract

In prospective studies of acute uncomplicated, multidrug-resistant falciparum malaria on the western border of Thailand, the oral artemisinin derivatives were used alone in the treatment of 836 patients (artesunate 630, artemether 206), were combined with mefloquine (15-25 mg base/kg) in 2,826 patients, and mefloquine alone was used in 1,303 patients. The combined regimens of mefloquine plus an artemisinin derivative were associated with more side effects than those with an artemisinin derivative alone; acute nausea (31% versus 16%), vomiting (24% versus 11%), anorexia (51% versus 34%), and dizziness (47% versus 15%) (P < 0.001). Oral artesunate and artemether alone were very well tolerated. There was no difference in the incidence of possible adverse effects between the two drugs, and no evidence that either derivative caused allergic reactions, neurologic or psychiatric reactions, or cardiovascular or dermatologic toxicity. Blackwater fever occurred in three patients treated with mefloquine plus artesunate regimens. Oral artesunate and artemether are safe and well tolerated antimalarial drugs.

Price R, Simpson JA, Teja-Isavatharm P, Than MM, Luxemburger C, Heppner DG, Chongsuphajaisiddhi T, Nosten F, White NJ. 1999. Pharmacokinetics of mefloquine combined with artesunate in children with acute falciparum malaria. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 43 (2), pp. 341-346. | Show Abstract

Combining artemisinin or a derivative with mefloquine increases cure rates in falciparum malaria patients, reduces transmission, and may slow the development of resistance. The combination of artesunate, given for 3 days, and mefloquine is now the treatment of choice for uncomplicated multidrug-resistant falciparum malaria acquired on the western or eastern borders of Thailand. To optimize mefloquine administration in this combination, a prospective study of mefloquine pharmacokinetics was conducted with 120 children (4 to 15 years old) with acute uncomplicated falciparum malaria, who were divided into four age- and sex-matched groups. The patients all received artesunate (4 mg/kg of body weight/day orally for 3 days and mefloquine as either (i) a single dose (25 mg/kg) on day 2 with food, (ii) a split dose (15 mg/kg on day 2 and 10 mg/kg on day 3) with food, (iii) a single dose (25 mg/kg) on day 0 without food, or (iv) a single dose (25 mg/kg) on day 2 without food. Delaying administration of mefloquine until day 2 was associated with a mean (95% confidence interval) increase in estimated oral bioavailability of 72% (36 to 109%). On day 2 coadministration with food did not increase mefloquine absorption significantly, and there were no significant differences between patients receiving split- and single-dose administration. In combination with artesunate, mefloquine administration should be delayed until the second or third day after presentation.

Price R, van Vugt M, Nosten F, Luxemburger C, Brockman A, Phaipun L, Chongsuphajaisiddhi T, White N. 1998. Artesunate versus artemether for the treatment of recrudescent multidrug-resistant falciparum malaria. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 59 (6), pp. 883-888. | Show Abstract

The therapeutic efficacy and toxicity of artesunate (2mg/kg/day for five days, then 1 mg/kg/day for two days: total=12 mg/kg) was compared with that of artemether (4 mg/kg followed by 2 mg/kg/day for two days, then 1 mg/kg/day for four days: total=12 mg/kg) for the treatment of recrudescent multidrug-resistant falciparum malaria in an open randomized trial in 443 patients living on the western border of Thailand. Parasite and fever clearance times were similar in both groups; within 48 hr 94% (95% confidence interval [CI]=91-96%]) of the treated patients were aparasitemic and 93% (95% CI=89-96%) were afebrile. Symptom resolution and resolution of hepatomegaly were slightly slower in the artesunate group; adjusted hazards ratio=1.5 (95% CI=1-2.0, P < 0.01) and 2.2 (95% CI=1.4-8, P=0.04), respectively. There was no significant difference in times to resolution or development of anemia or splenomegaly between treatment groups. By day 28, 3% (95% CI=0.3-5%) of the patients treated with artesunate and 6% of those treated with artemether (95% CI = 2-9%) had recurrent infections (P=0.3). Both regimens were very well tolerated, with no significant adverse effects attributable to either derivative. Overall, these data suggest that the two oral artemisinin derivatives are safe, highly effective, and result in equivalent therapeutic responses in the treatment of drug-resistant falciparum malaria.

Price RN, Nosten F, White NJ. 1998. Prolongation of the QTc interval in African children treated for falciparum malaria. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 59 (4), pp. 503.

Luxemburger C, van Vugt M, Slight T, Price RN, Chongsuphajaisiddhi T, Chanthavanich P, White NJ, Nosten F. 1998. Early vomiting of mefloquine in children with malaria is not modified by the timing of antipyretic treatment. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 92 (5), pp. 562-563. | Read more

Price R, Luxemburger C, van Vugt M, Nosten F, Kham A, Simpson J, Looareesuwan S, Chongsuphajaisiddhi T, White NJ. 1998. Artesunate and mefloquine in the treatment of uncomplicated multidrug-resistant hyperparasitaemic falciparum malaria. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 92 (2), pp. 207-211. | Show Abstract | Read more

Oral artesunate is the most effective treatment for uncomplicated hyperparasitaemia in falciparum malaria. To assess the contribution of mefloquine to therapeutic efficacy in an area endemic for mefloquine-resistant Plasmodium falciparum, an open randomized comparison of a 5 d course of oral artesunate (total dose 12 mg/kg) with and without a single dose of mefloquine (25 base mg/kg) was conducted in 100 adults and children with uncomplicated hyperparasitaemia (> 4% parasitized red blood cells). Both regimens were well tolerated and gave equally rapid clinical responses (84% of patients were aparasitaemic and 96% were afebrile within 48 h), but the recrudescence rate assessed at day 42 was 6% in those receiving artesunate with mefloquine compared to 36% in those receiving artesunate alone (adjusted hazard ratio 7, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 2-32; P < 0.01). In addition, the efficacy of a 7 d course of artesunate, with and without the addition of mefloquine, was monitored in 178 patients who were not part of the randomized comparison. The failure rate was again lower in those receiving artesunate and mefloquine--7% (95% CI 2-13) compared with 26% (95% CI 8-44) in patients treated with artesunate alone. An oral regimen of 5 d or more of artesunate, together with mefloquine (25 mg/kg) given on day 2, is an effective treatment for uncomplicated hyperparasitaemic falciparum malaria in this area of high level multidrug resistance.

Paul RE, Hackford I, Brockman A, Muller-Graf C, Price R, Luxemburger C, White NJ, Nosten F, Day KP. 1998. Transmission intensity and Plasmodium falciparum diversity on the northwestern border of Thailand. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 58 (2), pp. 195-203. | Show Abstract

Genetic analysis of the number of Plasmodium falciparum genotypes per infected person in regions of holoendemic and hyperendemic malaria suggest that in areas of lower transmission intensity, significantly fewer parasite genotypes per infected person should be found. A predominance of single clone infections in the human population could generate the controversial clonal population structure proposed for P. falciparum by Tibayrenc and others. Characterization of P. falciparum from individuals on the Thai-Burmese border, an area of hypoendemic transmission, revealed a higher number of genotypes per infected person than that predicted. Possible reasons for this observation are discussed, with particular attention paid to human migration and multidrug resistance.

Price RN, Nosten F, Luxemburger C, van Vugt M, Phaipun L, Chongsuphajaisiddhi T, White NJ. 1997. Artesunate/mefloquine treatment of multi-drug resistant falciparum malaria. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 91 (5), pp. 574-577. | Show Abstract | Read more

On the western border of Thailand, in an area endemic for multi-drug resistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria, therapeutic responses were assessed in 1967 patients with uncomplicated falciparum malaria treated with 3 d of artesunate (total dose 12 mg/kg) plus mefloquine (total dose 25 mg/kg). The regimen was well tolerated and resulted in a rapid clinical response; within 48 h, 96% of patients were aparasitaemic and 94% were afebrile. After correcting for reinfections, the cure rate by day 42 was 89% (95% confidence interval [95% CI] 87-91%). Three independent factors were found to predict recrudescence: age < 14 years (adjusted hazards ratio [AHR] = 1.6, 95% CI 1.1-2.3), initial parasitaemia greater than > 40,000/microL (AHR = 1.6, 95%, CI 1.2-2.2), and pure P. falciparum infections (AHR = 1.8, 95% CI 1.3-2.7). These 3 factors combined accounted for 62% of all treatment failures. Patients who received mefloquine on admission with a high admission parasitaemia (> 40,000/microL) had a three-fold (95% CI 1.3-7) risk of subsequent recrudescence compared with those who received their mefloquine on the second or third day (P = 0.01). There has been no decline in the efficacy of the 3 d artesunate plus mefloquine regimen since it was introduced in 1992. This regimen is safe, well tolerated, and highly effective in the treatment of multi-drug resistant falciparum malaria.

Price R, Robinson G, Brockman A, Cowman A, Krishna S. 1997. Assessment of pfmdr 1 gene copy number by tandem competitive polymerase chain reaction Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology, 85 (2), pp. 161-169. | Read more

Luxemburger C, Price RN, Nosten F, Ter Kuile FO, Chongsuphajaisiddhi T, White NJ. 1996. Mefloquine in infants and young children. Ann Trop Paediatr, 16 (4), pp. 281-286. | Show Abstract | Read more

In an area where multi-drug resistance in Plasmodium falciparum is a particular problem, more than 500 children under 5 years of age weighing > 5 kg were treated with mefloquine, either alone or combined with an artemisinin derivative, and followed up for a minimum of 28 days. The principal adverse effect was vomiting and this was associated with reduced efficacy of treatment (even when treatment was repeated). Later adverse effects occurred less frequently than in adults. There was no serious toxicity and, in particular, there were no neuropsychiatric side-effects. The high dose of mefloquine (25 mg/kg) required in this area is well tolerated by young children. It should be given in a divided dose of 15 mg/kg initially, followed by 10 mg/kg > or = 12 hours later.

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Nosten F, Luxemburger C, Kyle DE, Ballou WR, Wittes J, Wah E, Chongsuphajaisiddhi T, Gordon DM, White NJ, Sadoff JC et al. 1996. Randomised double-blind placebo-controlled trial of SPf66 malaria vaccine in children in northwestern Thailand LANCET, 348 (9029), pp. 701-707. | Show Abstract | Read more

Background. Previous efficacy trials of SPf66 malaria vaccine have produced conflicting results in different populations. We report a randomised double-blind trial of the SPf66 vaccine conducted in Karen children aged 2-15 living in a malarious region of northwestern Thailand. Recombinant hepatitis B vaccine was used as a comparator. Methods. The study had a power of 90% to detect an efficacy of 30%, defined as a reduction in the incidence of first cases of symptomatic falciparum malaria after three doses of vaccine. 1221 children received three immunisations and were eligible for the primary efficacy analysis. Intense active and passive case detection continued over 15 months of follow-up. Findings. The SPf66 vaccine was well tolerated, although 26 children had mild or moderately severe local or systemic allergic reactions, compared with none in the comparator group. The vaccine was immunogenic; after three doses, 73% of recipients had seroconverted. There were no deaths due to malaria during the study. During the 15-month period of evaluation there were 379 first cases of symptomatic falciparum malaria (195 in the SPf66 recipients, 184 in the comparator group); an SPf66 efficacy of -9% (95% CI -33 to 14, p = 0.41). No significant differences between the two study groups in parasite density or any other measure of malaria-related morbidity were detected. Interpretation. These findings are consistent with a recent study showing lack of efficacy of SPf66 among Gambian infants and differ from earlier positive reports from South America and evidence of borderline efficacy from Tanzania. We conclude that SPf66 does not protect against clinical falciparum malaria and that further efficacy trials are not warranted.

Price RN, Nosten F, Luxemburger C, ter Kuile FO, Paiphun L, Chongsuphajaisiddhi T, White NJ. 1996. Effects of artemisinin derivatives on malaria transmissibility. Lancet, 347 (9016), pp. 1654-1658. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: On the western border of Thailand the efficacy of mefloquine in the treatment of falciparum malaria has declined while gametocyte carriage rates have increased, which suggests increased transmissibility of these resistant infections. We compared the following antimalarial drugs in relation to subsequent Plasmodium falciparum gametocyte carriage: mefloquine, halofantrine, quinine, and the artemisinin derivatives. METHODS: Between 1990 and 1995 we assessed gametocytaemia in a series of prospective studies of antimalarial drug treatment in 5193 adults and children with acute uncomplicated falciparum malaria in an area of malarious hill forest on the western border of Thailand. Weekly parasite counts from thick and thin blood films were done during the 4-week (1990-93) or 9-week (1993-95) follow-up period. Gametocyte positivity rates and person gametocyte week (PGW) rates were calculated to measure gametocyte carriage and transmission potential. FINDINGS: In primary P falciparum infections the gametocyte carriage rate was significantly higher after treatment with mefloquine than after treatment with the artemisinin derivatives (PGW 34.1 [95% CI 25.2-42.9] vs 3.9 [1.9-5.9] per 1000 person weeks; relative risk 8.0 [4.1-15.6]; p<0.0001). Recrudescent infections were associated with increased gametocyte carrier rates (relative risk 2.2 [1.6-3.0]; p<0.0001), but retreatment with artemisinin derivatives reduced subsequent gametocyte carriage 18.5 fold [3.5-98] compared with mefloquine retreatment and 6.8 fold (3.1-15.1) compared with quinine retreatment (p<0.001). The introduction of the artemisinin derivatives in routine treatment at this study site in mid 1994 was associated with a reduction in the subsequent incidence of falciparum malaria of 47 (25-69)% INTERPRETATION: Although environmental changes affect vector numbers, and hence malaria incidence, artemisinin derivatives were found to reduce the transmission potential of falciparum malaria. Widespread introduction of artemisinin derivatives in the treatment of falciparum malaria may prevent the spread of multidrug resistance.

Price RN, Nosten F, Luxemburger C, Kham A, Brockman A, Chongsuphajaisiddhi T, White NJ. 1995. Artesunate versus artemether in combination with mefloquine for the treatment of multidrug-resistant falciparum malaria. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 89 (5), pp. 523-527. | Show Abstract | Read more

To compare the therapeutic efficacy of oral artesunate and artemether in combination with mefloquine for the treatment of multidrug resistant malaria, a trial was conducted in 540 adults and children on the Thai-Myanmar border. Three regimens were compared: artesunate (4 mg/kg/d for 3 d), artemether (4 mg/kg/d for 3 d), both in combination with mefloquine (25 mg/kg), and a single dose of mefloquine (25 mg/kg). The artesunate and artemether regimens gave very similar clinical and parasitological responses, and were both very well tolerated. There was no significant adverse effect attributable to the artemisinin derivatives. Fever and parasite clearance times with mefloquine alone were significantly longer (P < 0.001). After adjusting for reinfections the failure rates were 13.9% for the artesunate combination, 12.3% for the artemether combination and 49.2% for mefloquine alone (P < 0.0001; relative risk 3.8 [95% confidence interval 2.6-5.4]). Mefloquine should no longer be used alone for the treatment of multidrug resistant falciparum malaria in this area. Three-day combination regimens with artesunate or artemether are well tolerated and more effective.

Nosten F, Price RN. 1995. New antimalarials. A risk-benefit analysis. Drug Saf, 12 (4), pp. 264-273. | Show Abstract | Read more

Although more than 40% of the world's population live in malaria endemic areas, there are only 6 available antimalarial drugs for the treatment of Plasmodium falciparum infections. Three of these have been developed in the last 20 years and are discussed in this review. Mefloquine is relatively well tolerated and has the advantage of a single day regimen. It has ideal properties for prophylactic use. However, although rare, serious adverse reactions do occur and the drug cannot be used in severe malaria. Resistance has already emerged in some parts of the world. Halofantrine is also well tolerated and has a rapid antimalarial activity. It is more expensive than other antimalarials and the existence of cross-resistance links its usefulness to the demise of mefloquine. The discovery of a potentially lethal cardiotoxicity associated with halofantrine casts a further shadow over its use. The artemisinin derivatives represent an exciting breakthrough in the treatment of malaria. They are cheap and have a very rapid action. They seem remarkably free from toxic adverse effects, although the neurotoxicity seen in animal studies with the liposoluble derivatives gives rise for concern. However, the lack of pharmacokinetic and toxicity data as yet preclude their approval by Western drug regulation authorities. All antimalarials are threatened by the emergence of parasite resistance. Combination therapy using mefloquine and an artemisinin derivative may provide a way in which resistance can be combated.

ter Kuile FO, Nosten F, Luxemburger C, Kyle D, Teja-Isavatharm P, Phaipun L, Price R, Chongsuphajaisiddhi T, White NJ. 1995. Mefloquine treatment of acute falciparum malaria: a prospective study of non-serious adverse effects in 3673 patients. Bull World Health Organ, 73 (5), pp. 631-642. | Show Abstract

Between 1990 and 1994, a series of prospective studies were conducted to optimize the treatment of multidrug-resistant falciparum malaria on the borders of Thailand. The tolerance of various treatment regimens containing either mefloquine 15 mg/kg (M15) or 25 mg/kg (M25) was evaluated in 3673 patients aged between 6 months and 88 years. Early vomiting (within 1 hour) is an important determinant of treatment outcome in these areas, despite re-administration of the dose. Overall, 7 % of the patients vomited within an hour. Significant risk factors were age < or = 6 years (relative risk (RR), 3.9) or > or 50 years (RR, 2.7), the higher mefloquine dose (M25) (RRm 2.7), vomiting < 24 hours before enrolment (RR, 2.5), axillary temperature > 38.0 degrees C (RR, 1.6), and parasitaemia > 10,000/microliter (RR, 1.3). In children < or = 2 years, 30% vomited with M25, and 13% did not tolerate a repeat dose. Vomiting was reduced 40% by splitting the higher dose (RR, 0.6; 95% CI, 0.4-0.8), and 50% by giving mefloquine on the second day in combination with artesunate (RR, 0.5; CI, 0.3-0.9). Anorexia, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and sleeping disorders were 1.1-1.4 times more frequent with M25 than M15 in the three days following treatment, but were similar in the single or split-dose M25 groups, despite twofold higher mefloquine concentrations obtained with the latter. There was no evidence that diarrhoea, headache, and abdominal pain were associated with mefloquine use. High-dose mefloquine is well tolerated but should be given as a split dose.

McGuinness SL, Whiting SE, Baird R, Currie BJ, Ralph AP, Anstey NM, Price RN, Davis JS, Tong SYC. Nocardiosis in the tropical Northern Territory of Australia, 1997-2014 Open Forum Infectious Diseases, pp. ofw208-ofw208. | Read more

Grist EP, Flegg JA, Humphreys G, Mas IS, Anderson TJ, Ashley EA, Day NP, Dhorda M, Dondorp AM, Faiz MA et al. 2016. Optimal health and disease management using spatial uncertainty: a geographic characterization of emergent artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum distributions in Southeast Asia. Int J Health Geogr, 15 (1), pp. 37. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasites are now present across much of mainland Southeast Asia, where ongoing surveys are measuring and mapping their spatial distribution. These efforts require substantial resources. Here we propose a generic 'smart surveillance' methodology to identify optimal candidate sites for future sampling and thus map the distribution of artemisinin resistance most efficiently. METHODS: The approach uses the 'uncertainty' map generated iteratively by a geostatistical model to determine optimal locations for subsequent sampling. RESULTS: The methodology is illustrated using recent data on the prevalence of the K13-propeller polymorphism (a genetic marker of artemisinin resistance) in the Greater Mekong Subregion. CONCLUSION: This methodology, which has broader application to geostatistical mapping in general, could improve the quality and efficiency of drug resistance mapping and thereby guide practical operations to eliminate malaria in affected areas.

Baird JK, Valecha N, Duparc S, White NJ, Price RN. 2016. Diagnosis and Treatment of Plasmodium vivax Malaria. Am J Trop Med Hyg, | Show Abstract | Read more

The diagnosis and treatment of Plasmodium vivax malaria differs from that of Plasmodium falciparum malaria in fundamentally important ways. This article reviews the guiding principles, practices, and evidence underpinning the diagnosis and treatment of P vivax malaria.

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.

Douglas NM, Pontororing GJ, Lampah DA, Yeo TW, Kenangalem E, Poespoprodjo JR, Ralph AP, Bangs MJ, Sugiarto P, Anstey NM, Price RN. 2014. Mortality attributable to Plasmodium vivax malaria: a clinical audit from Papua, Indonesia. BMC Med, 12 (1), pp. 217. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Plasmodium vivax causes almost half of all malaria cases in Asia and is recognised as a significant cause of morbidity. In recent years it has been associated with severe and fatal disease. The extent to which P. vivax contributes to death is not known. METHODS: To define the epidemiology of mortality attributable to vivax malaria in southern Papua, Indonesia, a retrospective clinical records-based audit was conducted of all deaths in patients with vivax malaria at a tertiary referral hospital. RESULTS: Between January 2004 and September 2009, hospital surveillance identified 3,495 inpatients with P. vivax monoinfection and 65 (1.9%) patients who subsequently died. Charts for 54 of these 65 patients could be reviewed, 40 (74%) of whom had pure P. vivax infections on cross-checking. Using pre-defined conservative criteria, vivax malaria was the primary cause of death in 6 cases, a major contributor in 17 cases and a minor contributor in a further 13 cases. Extreme anaemia was the most common primary cause of death. Malnutrition, sepsis with respiratory and gastrointestinal manifestations, and chronic diseases were the commonest attributed causes of death for patients in the latter two categories. There were an estimated 293,763 cases of pure P. vivax infection in the community during the study period giving an overall minimum case fatality of 0.12 per 1,000 infections. The corresponding case fatality in hospitalised patients was 10.3 per 1,000 infections. CONCLUSIONS: Although uncommonly directly fatal, vivax malaria is an important indirect cause of death in southern Papua in patients with malnutrition, sepsis syndrome and chronic diseases, including HIV infection.

Price RN, von Seidlein L, Valecha N, Nosten F, Baird JK, White NJ. 2014. Global extent of chloroquine-resistant Plasmodium vivax: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet Infect Dis, 14 (10), pp. 982-991. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Chloroquine is the first-line treatment for Plasmodium vivax malaria in most endemic countries, but resistance is increasing. Monitoring of antimalarial efficacy is essential, but in P. vivax infections the assessment of treatment efficacy is confounded by relapse from the dormant liver stages. We systematically reviewed P. vivax malaria treatment efficacy studies to establish the global extent of chloroquine resistance. METHODS: We searched Medline, Web of Science, Embase, and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews to identify studies published in English between Jan 1, 1960, and April 30, 2014, which investigated antimalarial treatment efficacy in P. vivax malaria. We excluded studies that did not include supervised schizonticidal treatment without primaquine. We determined rates of chloroquine resistance according to P. vivax malaria recurrence rates by day 28 whole-blood chloroquine concentrations at the time of recurrence and study enrolment criteria. FINDINGS: We identified 129 eligible clinical trials involving 21,694 patients at 179 study sites and 26 case reports describing 54 patients. Chloroquine resistance was present in 58 (53%) of 113 assessable study sites, spread across most countries that are endemic for P. vivax. Clearance of parasitaemia assessed by microscopy in 95% of patients by day 2, or all patients by day 3, was 100% predictive of chloroquine sensitivity. INTERPRETATION: Heterogeneity of study design and analysis has confounded global surveillance of chloroquine-resistant P. vivax, which is now present across most countries endemic for P. vivax. Improved methods for monitoring of drug resistance are needed to inform antimalarial policy in these regions. FUNDING: Wellcome Trust (UK).

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Achan J, Adam I, Arinaitwe E, Ashley EA, Awab GR, Ba MS, Barnes KI, Bassat Q, Borrmann S, Bousema T 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.

Douglas NM, Lampah DA, Kenangalem E, Simpson JA, Poespoprodjo JR, Sugiarto P, Anstey NM, Price RN. 2013. Major burden of severe anemia from non-falciparum malaria species in Southern Papua: a hospital-based surveillance study. PLoS Med, 10 (12), pp. e1001575. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The burden of anemia attributable to non-falciparum malarias in regions with Plasmodium co-endemicity is poorly documented. We compared the hematological profile of patients with and without malaria in southern Papua, Indonesia. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Clinical and laboratory data were linked for all patients presenting to a referral hospital between April 2004 and December 2012. Data were available on patient demographics, malaria diagnosis, hemoglobin concentration, and clinical outcome, but other potential causes of anemia could not be identified reliably. Of 922,120 patient episodes (837,989 as outpatients and 84,131 as inpatients), a total of 219,845 (23.8%) were associated with a hemoglobin measurement, of whom 67,696 (30.8%) had malaria. Patients with P. malariae infection had the lowest hemoglobin concentration (n = 1,608, mean = 8.93 [95% CI 8.81-9.06]), followed by those with mixed species infections (n = 8,645, mean = 9.22 [95% CI 9.16-9.28]), P. falciparum (n = 37,554, mean = 9.47 [95% CI 9.44-9.50]), and P. vivax (n = 19,858, mean = 9.53 [95% CI 9.49-9.57]); p-value for all comparisons <0.001. Severe anemia (hemoglobin <5 g/dl) was present in 8,151 (3.7%) patients. Compared to patients without malaria, those with mixed Plasmodium infection were at greatest risk of severe anemia (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 3.25 [95% CI 2.99-3.54]); AORs for severe anaemia associated with P. falciparum, P. vivax, and P. malariae were 2.11 (95% CI 2.00-2.23), 1.87 (95% CI 1.74-2.01), and 2.18 (95% CI 1.76-2.67), respectively, p<0.001. Overall, 12.2% (95% CI 11.2%-13.3%) of severe anemia was attributable to non-falciparum infections compared with 15.1% (95% CI 13.9%-16.3%) for P. falciparum monoinfections. Patients with severe anemia had an increased risk of death (AOR = 5.80 [95% CI 5.17-6.50]; p<0.001). Not all patients had a hemoglobin measurement, thus limitations of the study include the potential for selection bias, and possible residual confounding in multivariable analyses. CONCLUSIONS: In Papua P. vivax is the dominant cause of severe anemia in early infancy, mixed P. vivax/P. falciparum infections are associated with a greater hematological impairment than either species alone, and in adulthood P. malariae, although rare, is associated with the lowest hemoglobin concentration. These findings highlight the public health importance of integrated genus-wide malaria control strategies in areas of Plasmodium co-endemicity.

Douglas NM, Nosten F, Ashley EA, Phaiphun L, van Vugt M, Singhasivanon P, White NJ, Price RN. 2011. Plasmodium vivax recurrence following falciparum and mixed species malaria: risk factors and effect of antimalarial kinetics. Clin Infect Dis, 52 (5), pp. 612-620. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Plasmodium vivax malaria commonly follows treatment of falciparum malaria in regions of co-endemicity. This is an important cause of preventable morbidity. METHODS: We examined the factors contributing to the risk of recurrence of P. vivax infection after treatment of acute falciparum malaria in a series of clinical trials conducted on the Thai-Myanmar border from 1991 through 2005. RESULTS: Overall, 10,549 patients (4960 children aged <15 years and 5589 adults) were treated for falciparum malaria; of these patients, 9385 (89.0%) had Plasmodium falciparum monoinfection and 1164 (11.0%) had mixed P. falciparum/P. vivax infections according to microscopic examinations performed at screening. The cumulative proportion of patients with P. falciparum infection recurrence by day 63 was 21.5% (95% confidence interval [CI], 20.3%-22.8%), and the cumulative proportion with P. vivax infection recurrence was 31.5% (95% CI, 30.1%-33.0%). Significant risk factors for P. vivax infection recurrence were mixed infection at enrollment, male sex, younger age, lower hematocrit, higher asexual P. falciparum parasite density (P < .001 for all factors), and P. falciparum gametocytemia at enrollment (P = .001). By day 63, the cumulative risk of vivax malaria after P. falciparum monoinfection was 51.1% (95% CI, 46.1%-56.2%) after treatment with rapidly eliminated drugs (t(1/2) <1 day), 35.3% (95% CI, 31.8%-39.0%) after treatment with intermediate half-life drugs (t(1/2) 1-7 days), and 19.6% (95% CI, 18.1%-21.3%) after treatment with slowly eliminated drugs (t(1/2) > 7 days) (P < .001, by test for trend). Artemisinin-based combinations containing mefloquine or piperaquine, compared with the artemether-lumefantrine and artesunate-atovaquone-proguanil combinations, were associated with a 3.6-fold to 4.2-fold lower adjusted hazard ratio for P. vivax infection recurrence within 63 days after pure or mixed P. falciparum infections (P < .001, for comparisons with artesunate-mefloquine). CONCLUSIONS: On the Thai-Myanmar border, P. vivax is the most common cause of parasitological failure after treatment for falciparum malaria. Slowly eliminated antimalarials reduce the risk of early P. vivax infection recurrence.

Poespoprodjo JR, Fobia W, Kenangalem E, Lampah DA, Hasanuddin A, Warikar N, Sugiarto P, Tjitra E, Anstey NM, Price RN. 2009. Vivax malaria: a major cause of morbidity in early infancy. Clin Infect Dis, 48 (12), pp. 1704-1712. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: In areas where malaria is endemic, infants aged <3 months appear to be relatively protected from symptomatic and severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria, but less is known about the effect of Plasmodium vivax infection in this age group. METHODS: To define malaria morbidity in the first year of life in an area where both multidrug-resistant P. falciparum and P. vivax are highly prevalent, data were gathered on all infants attending a referral hospital in Papua, Indonesia, using systematic data forms and hospital computerized records. Additional clinical and laboratory data were prospectively collected from inpatients aged <3 months. RESULTS: From April 2004 through April 2008, 4976 infants were admitted to the hospital, of whom 1560 (31%) had malaria, with infection equally attributable to P. falciparum and P. vivax. The case-fatality rate was similar for inpatients with P. falciparum malaria (13 [2.2%] of 599 inpatients died) and P. vivax malaria (6 [1.0%] of 603 died; P= .161), whereas severe malarial anemia was more prevalent among those with P. vivax malaria (193 [32%] of 605 vs. 144 [24%] of 601; P= .025). Of the 187 infants aged <3 months, 102 (56%) had P. vivax malaria, and 55 (30%) had P. falciparum malaria. In these young infants, infection with P. vivax was associated with a greater risk of severe anemia (odds ratio, 2.4; 95% confidence interval, 1.03-5.91; P= .041) and severe thrombocytopenia (odds ratio, 3.3; 95% confidence interval, 1.07-10.6; P= .036) compared with those who have P. falciparum infection. CONCLUSIONS: P. vivax malaria is a major cause of morbidity in early infancy. Preventive strategies, early diagnosis, and prompt treatment should be initiated in the perinatal period.

Tjitra E, Anstey NM, Sugiarto P, Warikar N, Kenangalem E, Karyana M, Lampah DA, Price RN. 2008. Multidrug-resistant Plasmodium vivax associated with severe and fatal malaria: a prospective study in Papua, Indonesia. PLoS Med, 5 (6), pp. e128. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Multidrug-resistant Plasmodium vivax (Pv) is widespread in eastern Indonesia, and emerging elsewhere in Asia-Pacific and South America, but is generally regarded as a benign disease. The aim of the study was to review the spectrum of disease associated with malaria due to Pv and P. falciparum (Pf) in patients presenting to a hospital in Timika, southern Papua, Indonesia. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Data were prospectively collected from all patients attending the outpatient and inpatient departments of the only hospital in the region using systematic data forms and hospital computerised records. Between January 2004 and December 2007, clinical malaria was present in 16% (60,226/373,450) of hospital outpatients and 32% (12,171/37,800) of inpatients. Among patients admitted with slide-confirmed malaria, 64% of patients had Pf, 24% Pv, and 10.5% mixed infections. The proportion of malarial admissions attributable to Pv rose to 47% (415/887) in children under 1 y of age. Severe disease was present in 2,634 (22%) inpatients with malaria, with the risk greater among Pv (23% [675/2,937]) infections compared to Pf (20% [1,570/7,817]; odds ratio [OR] = 1.19 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.08-1.32], p = 0.001), and greatest in patients with mixed infections (31% [389/1,273]); overall p < 0.0001. Severe anaemia (haemoglobin < 5 g/dl) was the major complication associated with Pv, accounting for 87% (589/675) of severe disease compared to 73% (1,144/1,570) of severe manifestations with Pf (p < 0.001). Pure Pv infection was also present in 78 patients with respiratory distress and 42 patients with coma. In total 242 (2.0%) patients with malaria died during admission: 2.2% (167/7,722) with Pf, 1.6% (46/2,916) with Pv, and 2.3% (29/1260) with mixed infections (p = 0.126). CONCLUSIONS: In this region with established high-grade chloroquine resistance to both Pv and Pf, Pv is associated with severe and fatal malaria particularly in young children. The epidemiology of P. vivax needs to be re-examined elsewhere where chloroquine resistance is increasing.

Poespoprodjo JR, Fobia W, Kenangalem E, Lampah DA, Warikar N, Seal A, McGready R, Sugiarto P, Tjitra E, Anstey NM, Price RN. 2008. Adverse pregnancy outcomes in an area where multidrug-resistant plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum infections are endemic. Clin Infect Dis, 46 (9), pp. 1374-1381. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Plasmodium falciparum infection exerts a considerable burden on pregnant women, but less is known about the adverse consequences of Plasmodium vivax infection. METHODS: In Papua, Indonesia, where multiple drug resistance to both species has emerged, we conducted a cross-sectional hospital-based study to quantify the risks and consequences of maternal malaria. RESULTS: From April 2004 through December 2006, 3046 pregnant women were enrolled in the study. The prevalence of parasitemia at delivery was 16.8% (432 of 2570 women had infections), with 152 (35.2%) of these 432 infections being associated with fever. The majority of infections were attributable to P. falciparum (250 [57.9%]); 146 (33.8%) of the infections were attributable to P. vivax, and 36 (8.3%) were coinfections with both species. At delivery, P. falciparum infection was associated with severe anemia (hemoglobin concentration, <7 g/dL; odds ratio [OR], 2.8; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 2.0-4.0) and a 192 g (95% CI, 119-265) reduction in mean birth weight (P<.001). P. vivax infection was associated with an increased risk of moderate anemia (hemoglobin concentration, 7-11 g/dL; OR, 1.8; 95% CI, 1.2-2.9; P=.01) and a 108 g (95% CI, 17.5-199) reduction in mean birth weight (P<.019). Parasitemia was associated with preterm delivery (OR, 1.5; 95% CI, 1.1-2.0; P=.02) and stillbirth (OR, 2.3; 95% CI, 1.3-4.1; P=.007) but was not associated with these outcomes after controlling for the presence of fever and severe anemia, suggesting that malaria increases the risk of preterm delivery and stillbirth through fever and contribution to severe anemia rather than through parasitemia per se. CONCLUSIONS: These observations highlight the need for novel, safe, and effective treatment and prevention strategies against both multidrug-resistant P. falciparum and multidrug-resistant P. vivax infections in pregnant women in areas of mixed endemicity.

Ratcliff A, Siswantoro H, Kenangalem E, Maristela R, Wuwung RM, Laihad F, Ebsworth EP, Anstey NM, Tjitra E, Price RN. 2007. Two fixed-dose artemisinin combinations for drug-resistant falciparum and vivax malaria in Papua, Indonesia: an open-label randomised comparison. Lancet, 369 (9563), pp. 757-765. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The burden of Plasmodium vivax infections has been underappreciated, especially in southeast Asia where chloroquine resistant strains have emerged. Our aim was to compare the safety and efficacy of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine with that of artemether-lumefantrine in patients with uncomplicated malaria caused by multidrug-resistant P falciparum and P vivax. METHODS: 774 patients in southern Papua, Indonesia, with slide-confirmed malaria were randomly assigned to receive either artemether-lumefantrine or dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine and followed up for at least 42 days. The primary endpoint was the overall cumulative risk of parasitological failure at day 42 with a modified intention-to-treat analysis. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, trial number 00157833. FINDINGS: Of the 754 evaluable patients enrolled, 466 had infections with P falciparum, 175 with P vivax, and 113 with a mixture of both species. The overall risk of failure at day 42 was 43% (95% CI 38-48) for artemether-lumefantrine and 19% (14-23) for dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (hazard ratio=3.0, 95% CI 2.2-4.1, p<0.0001). After correcting for reinfections, the risk of recrudescence of P falciparum was 4.4% (2.6-6.2) with no difference between regimens. Recurrence of vivax occurred in 38% (33-44) of patients given artemether-lumefantrine compared with 10% (6.9-14.0) given dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (p<0.0001). At the end of the study, patients receiving dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine were 2.0 times (1.2-3.6) less likely to be anaemic and 6.6 times (2.8-16) less likely to carry vivax gametocytes than were those given artemether-lumefantrine. INTERPRETATION: Both dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine and artemether-lumefantrine were safe and effective for the treatment of multidrug-resistant uncomplicated malaria. However, dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine provided greater post-treatment prophylaxis than did artemether-lumefantrine, reducing P falciparum reinfections and P vivax recurrences, the clinical public-health importance of which should not be ignored.

Price RN, Uhlemann AC, Brockman A, McGready R, Ashley E, Phaipun L, Patel R, Laing K, Looareesuwan S, White NJ et al. 2004. Mefloquine resistance in Plasmodium falciparum and increased pfmdr1 gene copy number. Lancet, 364 (9432), pp. 438-447. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The borders of Thailand harbour the world's most multidrug resistant Plasmodium falciparum parasites. In 1984 mefloquine was introduced as treatment for uncomplicated falciparum malaria, but substantial resistance developed within 6 years. A combination of artesunate with mefloquine now cures more than 95% of acute infections. For both treatment regimens, the underlying mechanisms of resistance are not known. METHODS: The relation between polymorphisms in the P falciparum multidrug resistant gene 1 (pfmdr1) and the in-vitro and in-vivo responses to mefloquine were assessed in 618 samples from patients with falciparum malaria studied prospectively over 12 years. pfmdr1 copy number was assessed by a robust real-time PCR assay. Single nucleotide polymorphisms of pfmdr1, P falciparum chloroquine resistance transporter gene (pfcrt) and P falciparum Ca2+ ATPase gene (pfATP6) were assessed by PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism. FINDINGS: Increased copy number of pfmdr1 was the most important determinant of in-vitro and in-vivo resistance to mefloquine, and also to reduced artesunate sensitivity in vitro. In a Cox regression model with control for known confounders, increased pfmdr1 copy number was associated with an attributable hazard ratio (AHR) for treatment failure of 6.3 (95% CI 2.9-13.8, p<0.001) after mefloquine monotherapy and 5.4 (2.0-14.6, p=0.001) after artesunate-mefloquine therapy. Single nucleotide polymorphisms in pfmdr1 were associated with increased mefloquine susceptibility in vitro, but not in vivo. INTERPRETATION: Amplification in pfmdr1 is the main cause of resistance to mefloquine in falciparum malaria. RELEVANCE TO PRACTICE: Multidrug resistant P falciparum malaria is common in southeast Asia, but difficult to identify and treat. Genes that encode parasite transport proteins maybe involved in export of drugs and so cause resistance. In this study we show that increase in copy number of pfmdr1, a gene encoding a parasite transport protein, is the best overall predictor of treatment failure with mefloquine. Increase in pfmdr1 copy number predicts failure even after chemotherapy with the highly effective combination of mefloquine and 3 days' artesunate. Monitoring of pfmdr1 copy number will be useful in epidemiological surveys of drug resistance in P falciparum, and potentially for predicting treatment failure in individual patients.

Price RN, Nosten F, Luxemburger C, ter Kuile FO, Paiphun L, Chongsuphajaisiddhi T, White NJ. 1996. Effects of artemisinin derivatives on malaria transmissibility. Lancet, 347 (9016), pp. 1654-1658. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: On the western border of Thailand the efficacy of mefloquine in the treatment of falciparum malaria has declined while gametocyte carriage rates have increased, which suggests increased transmissibility of these resistant infections. We compared the following antimalarial drugs in relation to subsequent Plasmodium falciparum gametocyte carriage: mefloquine, halofantrine, quinine, and the artemisinin derivatives. METHODS: Between 1990 and 1995 we assessed gametocytaemia in a series of prospective studies of antimalarial drug treatment in 5193 adults and children with acute uncomplicated falciparum malaria in an area of malarious hill forest on the western border of Thailand. Weekly parasite counts from thick and thin blood films were done during the 4-week (1990-93) or 9-week (1993-95) follow-up period. Gametocyte positivity rates and person gametocyte week (PGW) rates were calculated to measure gametocyte carriage and transmission potential. FINDINGS: In primary P falciparum infections the gametocyte carriage rate was significantly higher after treatment with mefloquine than after treatment with the artemisinin derivatives (PGW 34.1 [95% CI 25.2-42.9] vs 3.9 [1.9-5.9] per 1000 person weeks; relative risk 8.0 [4.1-15.6]; p<0.0001). Recrudescent infections were associated with increased gametocyte carrier rates (relative risk 2.2 [1.6-3.0]; p<0.0001), but retreatment with artemisinin derivatives reduced subsequent gametocyte carriage 18.5 fold [3.5-98] compared with mefloquine retreatment and 6.8 fold (3.1-15.1) compared with quinine retreatment (p<0.001). The introduction of the artemisinin derivatives in routine treatment at this study site in mid 1994 was associated with a reduction in the subsequent incidence of falciparum malaria of 47 (25-69)% INTERPRETATION: Although environmental changes affect vector numbers, and hence malaria incidence, artemisinin derivatives were found to reduce the transmission potential of falciparum malaria. Widespread introduction of artemisinin derivatives in the treatment of falciparum malaria may prevent the spread of multidrug resistance.

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