A Review of the Current Status of G6PD Deficiency Testing to Guide Radical Cure Treatment for Vivax Malaria
Sadhewa A., Cassidy-Seyoum S., Acharya S., Devine A., Price RN., Mwaura M., Thriemer K., Ley B.
Plasmodium vivax malaria continues to cause a significant burden of disease in the Asia-Pacific, the Horn of Africa, and the Americas. In addition to schizontocidal treatment, the 8-aminoquinoline drugs are crucial for the complete removal of the parasite from the human host (radical cure). While well tolerated in most recipients, 8-aminoquinolines can cause severe haemolysis in glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficient patients. G6PD deficiency is one of the most common enzymopathies worldwide; therefore, the WHO recommends routine testing to guide 8-aminoquinoline based treatment for vivax malaria whenever possible. In practice, this is not yet implemented in most malaria endemic countries. This review provides an update of the characteristics of the most used G6PD diagnostics. We describe the current state of policy and implementation of routine point-of-care G6PD testing in malaria endemic countries and highlight key knowledge gaps that hinder broader implementation. Identified challenges include optimal training of health facility staff on point-of-care diagnostics, quality control of novel G6PD diagnostics, and culturally appropriate information and communication with affected communities around G6PD deficiency and implications for treatment.