Combination drug treatment can cut malaria by 30 percent | Science CodexPosted: April 2, 2012
IPT uses sporadic, short courses of combined antimalarial drugs to provide protection against malaria infection. “IPT is a cheap and easy way to decrease the burden of malaria in those most susceptible to clinical illness, such as young infants and pregnant women,” Professor Mueller said.
As part of the clinical trial, infants aged three to 15 months were treated with a long-lasting antimalarial drug combination at three, six, nine and 12 months. Professor Mueller said the most effective drug combination in the trial was the long-lasting antimalarials sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine and amodiaquine (SP-AQ), which act against the two most lethal species of malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax. In the trial, SP-AQ treatment decreased infant infections by 35 per cent for Plasmodium falciparum and 23 per cent for Plasmodium vivax.
“These are quite remarkable figures,” Professor Mueller said. “Different treatment strategies are required for different regions, depending on the dynamics of disease. The drug combination that was most effective in PNG was very different to the drugs you would use to treat malaria in Africa and also different to the drugs currently recommended for treating malaria in PNG.”
Professor Peter Siba, director of PNGIMR, said a key factor in the effectiveness of the treatment was running it in parallel with existing vaccination and healthcare programs.