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    Patterns of protective associations differ for antibodies to &ITP&IT. &ITfalciparum&IT-infected erythrocytes and merozoites in immunity against malaria in children
    Chan, J-A ; Stanisic, D ; Duffy, MF ; Robinson, LJ ; Lin, E ; Kazura, JW ; King, CL ; Siba, PM ; Fowkes, FJ ; Mueller, I ; Beeson, JG (WILEY, 2017-12-01)
    Acquired antibodies play an important role in immunity to P. falciparum malaria and are typically directed towards surface antigens expressed by merozoites and infected erythrocytes (IEs). The importance of specific IE surface antigens as immune targets remains unclear. We evaluated antibodies and protective associations in two cohorts of children in Papua New Guinea. We used genetically-modified P. falciparum to evaluate the importance of PfEMP1 and a P. falciparum isolate with a virulent phenotype. Our findings suggested that PfEMP1 was the dominant target of antibodies to the IE surface, including functional antibodies that promoted opsonic phagocytosis by monocytes. Antibodies were associated with increasing age and concurrent parasitemia, and were higher among children exposed to a higher force-of-infection as determined using molecular detection. Antibodies to IE surface antigens were consistently associated with reduced risk of malaria in both younger and older children. However, protective associations for antibodies to merozoite surface antigens were only observed in older children. This suggests that antibodies to IE surface antigens, particularly PfEMP1, play an earlier role in acquired immunity to malaria, whereas greater exposure is required for protective antibodies to merozoite antigens. These findings have implications for vaccine design and serosurveillance of malaria transmission and immunity.
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    Safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetic properties of coadministered azithromycin and piperaquine in pregnant Papua New Guinean women
    Moore, BR ; Benjamin, JM ; Auyeung, SO ; Salman, S ; Yadi, G ; Griffin, S ; Page-Sharp, M ; Batty, KT ; Siba, PM ; Mueller, I ; Rogerson, SJ ; Davis, TME (WILEY, 2016-07-01)
    AIMS: The aim of the present study was to investigate the safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics of coadministered azithromycin (AZI) and piperaquine (PQ) for treating malaria in pregnant Papua New Guinean women. METHODS: Thirty pregnant women (median age 22 years; 16-32 weeks' gestation) were given three daily doses of 1 g AZI plus 960 mg PQ tetraphosphate with detailed monitoring/blood sampling over 42 days. Plasma AZI and PQ were assayed using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry and high-performance liquid chromatography, respectively. Pharmacokinetic analysis was by population-based compartmental models. RESULTS: The treatment was well tolerated. The median (interquartile range) increase in the rate-corrected electrocardiographic QT interval 4 h postdose [12 (6-26) ms(0) (.5) ] was similar to that found in previous studies of AZI given in pregnancy with other partner drugs. Six women with asymptomatic malaria cleared their parasitaemias within 72 h. Two apararasitaemic women developed late uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum infections on Days 42 and 83. Compared with previous pregnancy studies, the area under the concentration-time curve (AUC0-∞ ) for PQ [38818 (24354-52299) μg h l(-1) ] was similar to published values but there was a 52% increase in relative bioavailability with each dose. The AUC0-∞ for AZI [46799 (43526-49462) μg h l(-1) ] was at least as high as reported for higher-dose regimens, suggesting saturable absorption and/or concentration-dependent tissue uptake and clearance from the central compartment. CONCLUSIONS: AZI-PQ appears to be well tolerated and safe in pregnancy. Based on the present/other data, total AZI doses higher than 3 g for the treatment and prevention of malaria may be unnecessary in pregnant women, while clearance of parasitaemia could improve the relative bioavailability of PQ.
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    Optimal Antimalarial Dose Regimens for Sulfadoxine-Pyrimethamine with or without Azithromycin in Pregnancy Based on Population Pharmacokinetic Modeling
    Salman, S ; Baiwog, F ; Page-Sharp, M ; Griffin, S ; Karunajeewa, HA ; Mueller, I ; Rogerson, SJ ; Siba, PM ; Ilett, KF ; Davis, TME (AMER SOC MICROBIOLOGY, 2017-05-01)
    Optimal dosing of sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) as intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy remains to be established, particularly when coadministered with azithromycin (AZI). To further characterize SP pharmacokinetics in pregnancy, plasma concentration-time data from 45 nonpregnant and 45 pregnant women treated with SP-AZI (n = 15 in each group) and SP-chloroquine (n = 30 in each group) were analyzed. Population nonlinear mixed-effect pharmacokinetic models were developed for pyrimethamine (PYR), sulfadoxine (SDOX), and N-acetylsulfadoxine (the SDOX metabolite NASDOX), and potential covariates were included. Pregnancy increased the relative clearance (CL/F) of PYR, SDOX, and NASDOX by 48, 29, and 70%, respectively, as well as the relative volumes of distribution (V/F) of PYR (46 and 99%) and NASDOX (46%). Coadministration of AZI resulted in a greater increase in PYR CL/F (80%) and also increased NASDOX V/F by 76%. Apparent differences between these results and those of published studies of SP disposition may reflect key differences in study design, including the use of an early postpartum follow-up study rather than a nonpregnant comparator group. Simulations based on the final population model demonstrated that, compared to conventional single-dose SP in nonpregnant women, two such doses given 24 h apart should ensure that pregnant women have similar drug exposure, while three daily SP doses may be required if SP is given with AZI. The results of past and ongoing trials using recommended adult SP doses with or without AZI in pregnant women may need to be interpreted in light of these findings and consideration given to using increased doses in future trials.
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    Optimal antimalarial dose regimens for chloroquine in pregnancy based on population pharmacokinetic modelling
    Salman, S ; Baiwog, F ; Page-Sharp, M ; Kose, K ; Karunajeewa, HA ; Mueller, I ; Rogerson, SJ ; Siba, PM ; Ilett, KF ; Davis, TME (ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV, 2017-10-01)
    Despite extensive use and accumulated evidence of safety, there have been few pharmacokinetic studies from which appropriate chloroquine (CQ) dosing regimens could be developed specifically for pregnant women. Such optimised CQ-based regimens, used as treatment for acute malaria or as intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy (IPTp), may have a valuable role if parasite CQ sensitivity returns following reduced drug pressure. In this study, population pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic modelling was used to simultaneously analyse plasma concentration-time data for CQ and its active metabolite desethylchloroquine (DCQ) in 44 non-pregnant and 45 pregnant Papua New Guinean women treated with CQ and sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine or azithromycin (AZM). Pregnancy was associated with 16% and 49% increases in CQ and DCQ clearance, respectively, as well as a 24% reduction in CQ relative bioavailability. Clearance of DCQ was 22% lower in those who received AZM in both groups. Simulations based on the final multicompartmental model demonstrated that a 33% CQ dose increase may be suitable for acute treatment for malaria in pregnancy as it resulted in equivalent exposure to that in non-pregnant women receiving recommended doses, whilst a double dose would likely be required for an effective duration of post-treatment prophylaxis when used as IPTp especially in areas of CQ resistance. The impact of co-administered AZM was clinically insignificant in simulations. The results of past/ongoing trials employing recommended adult doses of CQ-based regimens in pregnant women should be interpreted in light of these findings, and consideration should be given to using increased doses in future trials.
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    Intermittent Preventive Therapy in Pregnancy and Incidence of Low Birth Weight in Malaria-Endemic Countries
    Cates, JE ; Westreich, D ; Unger, HW ; Bauserman, M ; Adair, L ; Cole, SR ; Meshnick, S ; Rogerson, SJ (AMER PUBLIC HEALTH ASSOC INC, 2018-03-01)
    OBJECTIVES: To estimate the impact of hypothetical antimalarial and nutritional interventions (which reduce the prevalence of low midupper arm circumference [MUAC]) on the incidence of low birth weight (LBW). METHODS: We analyzed data from 14 633 pregnancies from 13 studies conducted across Africa and the Western Pacific from 1996 to 2015. We calculated population intervention effects for increasing intermittent preventive therapy in pregnancy (IPTp), full coverage with bed nets, reduction in malaria infection at delivery, and reductions in the prevalence of low MUAC. RESULTS: We estimated that, compared with observed IPTp use, administering 3 or more doses of IPTp to all women would decrease the incidence of LBW from 9.9% to 6.9% (risk difference = 3.0%; 95% confidence interval = 1.7%, 4.0%). The intervention effects for eliminating malaria at delivery, increasing bed net ownership, and decreasing low MUAC prevalence were all modest. CONCLUSIONS: Increasing IPTp uptake to at least 3 doses could decrease the incidence of LBW in malaria-endemic countries. The impact of IPTp on LBW was greater than the effect of prevention of malaria, consistent with a nonmalarial effect of IPTp, measurement error, or selection bias.
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    Acquisition of Antibodies Against Endothelial Protein C Receptor-Binding Domains of Plasmodium falciparum Erythrocyte Membrane Protein 1 in Children with Severe Malaria
    Rambhatla, JS ; Turner, L ; Manning, L ; Laman, M ; Davis, TME ; Beeson, JG ; Mueller, I ; Warrel, J ; Theander, TG ; Lavstsen, T ; Rogerson, SJ (OXFORD UNIV PRESS INC, 2019-03-01)
    BACKGROUND: Plasmodium falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1 (PfEMP1) mediates parasite sequestration in postcapillary venules in P. falciparum malaria. PfEMP1 types can be classified based on their cysteine-rich interdomain region (CIDR) domains. Antibodies to different PfEMP1 types develop gradually after repeated infections as children age, and antibodies to specific CIDR types may confer protection. METHODS: Levels of immunoglobulin G to 35 recombinant CIDR domains were measured by means of Luminex assay in acute-stage (baseline) and convalescent-stage plasma samples from Papua New Guinean children with severe or uncomplicated malaria and in healthy age-matched community controls. RESULTS: At baseline, antibody levels were similar across the 3 groups. After infection, children with severe malaria had higher antibody levels than those with uncomplicated malaria against the endothelial protein C receptor (EPCR) binding CIDRα1 domains, and this difference was largely confined to older children. Antibodies to EPCR-binding domains increased from presentation to follow-up in severe malaria, but not in uncomplicated malaria. CONCLUSIONS: The acquisition of antibodies against EPCR-binding CIDRα1 domains of PfEMP1 after a severe malaria episode suggest that EPCR-binding PfEMP1 may have a role in the pathogenesis of severe malaria in Papua New Guinea.
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    A Randomized Open-Label Evaluation of the Antimalarial Prophylactic Efficacy of Azithromycin-Piperaquine versus Sulfadoxine-Pyrimethamine in Pregnant Papua New Guinean Women
    Moore, BR ; Benjamin, JM ; Tobe, R ; Ome-Kaius, M ; Yadi, G ; Kasian, B ; Kong, C ; Robinson, LJ ; Laman, M ; Mueller, I ; Rogerson, S ; Davis, TME (American Society for Microbiology, 2019-10-01)
    Emerging malaria parasite sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) resistance has prompted assessment of alternatives for intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy (IPTp). The objective was to evaluate the tolerability and prophylactic efficacy of azithromycin (AZ) plus piperaquine (PQ) in pregnant women in Papua New Guinea. The study was an open-label, randomized, parallel-group trial. A total of 122 women (median gestation, 26 weeks [range, 14 to 32 weeks]) were randomized 1:1 to three daily doses of 1 g AZ plus 960 mg PQ tetraphosphate or single-dose SP (4,500 mg sulfadoxine plus 225 mg pyrimethamine), based on computer-generated block randomization. Tolerability was assessed to day 7, and efficacy was assessed to day 42 (when participants were returned to usual care) and at delivery. Data for 119 participants (AZ-PQ, n = 61; SP, n = 58) were analyzed. Both regimens were well tolerated, but AZ-PQ was associated with more gastrointestinal side effects (31%) and dizziness (21%). Eight women (6.7%) were parasitemic at recruitment but all were aparasitemic by 72 h. There were no differences in blood smear positivity rates between AZ-PQ and SP up to day 42 (0% versus 5.2%; relative risk [RR], 0.14 [95% confidence interval [CI], 0.01 to 2.58] [P = 0.18]; absolute risk reduction [ARR], 5.2% [95% CI, -1.3 to 11.6%]) and at the time of delivery (0% versus 8.7%; RR, 0.11 [95% CI, 0.01 to 2.01] [P = 0.14]; ARR, 8.7% [95% CI, -0.2 to 17.6%]). Of 92 women who were monitored to parturition, 89 (97%) delivered healthy babies; there were 3 stillbirths (SP, n = 1; AZ-PQ, n = 2 [twins]). There was a higher live birth weight (mean ± standard deviation) in the AZ-PQ group (3.13 ± 0.42 versus 2.88 ± 0.55 kg [P = 0.016]; mean difference, 0.25 kg [95% CI, 0.02 to 0.48 kg]). AZ-PQ is a promising candidate for IPTp.
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    Antibody Targets on the Surface of Plasmodium falciparum-Infected Erythrocytes That Are Associated With Immunity to Severe Malaria in Young Children
    Chan, J-A ; Boyle, MJ ; Moore, KA ; Reiling, L ; Lin, Z ; Hasang, W ; Avril, M ; Manning, L ; Mueller, I ; Laman, M ; Davis, T ; Smith, JD ; Rogerson, SJ ; Simpson, JA ; Fowkes, FJI ; Beeson, JG (Oxford University Press, 2019-03-01)
    BACKGROUND: Sequestration of Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes (IEs) in the microvasculature contributes to pathogenesis of severe malaria in children. This mechanism is mediated by antigens expressed on the IE surface. However, knowledge of specific targets and functions of antibodies to IE surface antigens that protect against severe malaria is limited. METHODS: Antibodies to IE surface antigens were examined in a case-control study of young children in Papua New Guinea presenting with severe or uncomplicated malaria (n = 448), using isolates with a virulent phenotype associated with severe malaria, and functional opsonic phagocytosis assays. We used genetically modified isolates and recombinant P. falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1 (PfEMP1) domains to quantify PfEMP1 as a target of antibodies associated with disease severity. RESULTS: Antibodies to the IE surface and recombinant PfEMP1 domains were significantly higher in uncomplicated vs severe malaria and were boosted following infection. The use of genetically modified P. falciparum revealed that PfEMP1 was a major target of antibodies and that PfEMP1-specific antibodies were associated with reduced odds of severe malaria. Furthermore, antibodies promoting the opsonic phagocytosis of IEs by monocytes were lower in those with severe malaria. CONCLUSIONS: Findings suggest that PfEMP1 is a dominant target of antibodies associated with reduced risk of severe malaria, and function in part by promoting opsonic phagocytosis.
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    Molecular epidemiology of residual Plasmodium vivax transmission in a paediatric cohort in Solomon Islands
    Quah, YW ; Waltmann, A ; Karl, S ; White, MT ; Vahi, V ; Darcy, A ; Pitakaka, F ; Whittaker, M ; Tisch, DJ ; Barry, A ; Barnadas, C ; Kazura, J ; Mueller, I (BMC, 2019-03-28)
    BACKGROUND: Following the scale-up of intervention efforts, malaria burden has decreased dramatically in Solomon Islands (SI). Submicroscopic and asymptomatic Plasmodium vivax infections are now the major challenge for malaria elimination in this country. Since children have higher risk of contracting malaria, this study investigated the dynamics of Plasmodium spp. infections among children including the associated risk factors of residual P. vivax burden. METHODS: An observational cohort study was conducted among 860 children aged 0.5-12 years in Ngella (Central Islands Province, SI). Children were monitored by active and passive surveillances for Plasmodium spp. infections and illness. Parasites were detected by quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) and genotyped. Comprehensive statistical analyses of P. vivax infection prevalence, molecular force of blood stage infection (molFOB) and infection density were conducted. RESULTS: Plasmodium vivax infections were common (overall prevalence: 11.9%), whereas Plasmodium falciparum infections were rare (0.3%) but persistent. Although children acquire an average of 1.1 genetically distinct P. vivax blood-stage infections per year, there was significant geographic heterogeneity in the risks of P. vivax infections across Ngella (prevalence: 1.2-47.4%, p < 0.01; molFOB: 0.05-4.6/year, p < 0.01). Malaria incidence was low (IR: 0.05 episodes/year-at-risk). Age and measures of high exposure were the key risk factors for P. vivax infections and disease. Malaria incidence and infection density decreased with age, indicating significant acquisition of immunity. G6PD deficient children (10.8%) that did not receive primaquine treatment had a significantly higher prevalence (aOR: 1.77, p = 0.01) and increased risk of acquiring new bloodstage infections (molFOB aIRR: 1.51, p = 0.03), underscoring the importance of anti-relapse treatment. CONCLUSION: Residual malaria transmission in Ngella exhibits strong heterogeneity and is characterized by a high proportion of submicroscopic and asymptomatic P. vivax infections, alongside sporadic P. falciparum infections. Implementing an appropriate primaquine treatment policy to prevent P. vivax relapses and specific targeting of control interventions to high risk areas will be required to accelerate ongoing control and elimination activities.
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    Efficacy of artemether-lumefantrine and dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine for the treatment of uncomplicated malaria in Papua New Guinea
    Tavul, L ; Hetzel, MW ; Teliki, A ; Walsh, D ; Kiniboro, B ; Rare, L ; Pulford, J ; Siba, PM ; Karl, S ; Makita, L ; Robinson, L ; Kattenberg, JH ; Laman, M ; Oswyn, G ; Mueller, I (BMC, 2018-10-05)
    BACKGROUND: In 2009, the Papua New Guinea (PNG) Department of Health adopted artemether-lumefantrine (AL) and dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DHA-PPQ) as the first- and second-line treatments for uncomplicated malaria, respectively. This study was conducted to assess the efficacy of both drugs following adoption of the new policy. METHODS: Between June 2012 and September 2014, a therapeutic efficacy study was conducted in East Sepik and Milne Bay Provinces of PNG in accordance with the standard World Health Organization (WHO) protocol for surveillance of anti-malarial drug efficacy. Patients ≥ 6 months of age with microscopy confirmed Plasmodium falciparum or Plasmodium vivax mono-infections were enrolled, treated with AL or DHA-PPQ, and followed up for 42 days. Study endpoints were adequate clinical and parasitological response (ACPR) on days 28 and 42. The in vitro efficacy of anti-malarials and the prevalence of selected molecular markers of resistance were also determined. RESULTS: A total of 274 P. falciparum and 70 P. vivax cases were enrolled. The day-42 PCR-corrected ACPR for P. falciparum was 98.1% (104/106) for AL and 100% (135/135) for DHA-PPQ. The day-42 PCR-corrected ACPR for P. vivax was 79.0% (15/19) for AL and 92.3% (36/39) for DHA-PPQ. Day 3 parasite clearance of P. falciparum was 99.2% with AL and 100% with DHA-PPQ. In vitro testing of 96 samples revealed low susceptibility to chloroquine (34% of samples above IC50 threshold) but not to lumefantrine (0%). Molecular markers assessed in a sub-set of the study population indicated high rates of chloroquine resistance in P. falciparum (pfcrt SVMNT: 94.2%, n = 104) and in P. vivax (pvmdr1 Y976F: 64.8%, n = 54). CONCLUSIONS: AL and DHA-PPQ were efficacious as first- and second-line treatments for uncomplicated malaria in PNG. Continued in vivo efficacy monitoring is warranted considering the threat of resistance to artemisinin and partner drugs in the region and scale-up of artemisinin-based combination therapy in PNG.