Publications 2017

Tripura R, Peto TJ, Veugen CC, Nguon C, Davoeung C, James N, Dhorda M, Maude RJ, Duanguppama J, Patumrat K et al. 2017. Submicroscopic Plasmodium prevalence in relation to malaria incidence in 20 villages in western Cambodia. Malar J, 16 (1), pp. 56. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Cambodia has seen a marked reduction in the incidence of Plasmodium falciparum over the past decade without a corresponding decline in Plasmodium vivax incidence. It is unknown to what extent local transmission is sustained by a chain of clinical and sub-clinical infections or by continued re-introduction via migration. Using an ultrasensitive molecular technique, 20 villages in western Cambodia were surveyed to detect the low season prevalence of P. falciparum and P. vivax and local treatment records were reviewed. METHODS: During March to May 2015 cross-sectional surveys were conducted in 20 villages in Battambang, western Cambodia. Demographic and epidemiological data and venous blood samples were collected from 50 randomly selected adult volunteers in each village. Blood was tested for Plasmodium infections by rapid diagnostic test (RDT), microscopy and high volume (0.5 ml packed red blood cell) quantitative polymerase chain reaction (uPCR). Positive samples were analysed by nested PCR to determine the Plasmodium species. Malaria case records were collected from the Provincial Health Department and village malaria workers to determine incidence and migration status. RESULTS: Among the 1000 participants, 91 (9.1%) were positive for any Plasmodium infection by uPCR, seven (0.7%) by microscopy, and two (0.2%) by RDT. uPCR P. vivax prevalence was 6.6%, P. falciparum 0.7%, and undetermined Plasmodium species 1.8%. Being male (adjusted OR 2.0; 95% CI 1.2-3.4); being a young adult <30 years (aOR 2.1; 95% CI 1.3-3.4); recent forest travel (aOR 2.8; 95% CI 1.6-4.8); and, a history of malaria (aOR 5.2; 95% CI 2.5-10.7) were independent risk factors for parasitaemia. Of the clinical malaria cases diagnosed by village malaria workers, 43.9% (297/634) and 38.4% (201/523) were among migrants in 2013 and in 2014, respectively. Plasmodium vivax prevalence determined by uPCR significantly correlated with vivax malaria incidences in both 2014 and 2015 (p = 0.001 and 0.002, respectively), whereas no relationship was observed in falciparum malaria (p = 0.36 and p = 0.59, respectively). DISCUSSION: There was heterogeneity in the malaria parasite reservoir between villages, and Plasmodium prevalence correlated with subsequent malaria incidence. The association was attributable chiefly to P. vivax infections, which were nine-fold more prevalent than P. falciparum infections. In the absence of a radical cure with 8-aminoquinolines, P. vivax transmission will continue even as P. falciparum prevalence declines. Migration was associated with over a third of incident cases of clinical malaria. Trial registration clinicaltrials.gov (NCT01872702). Registered 4 June 2013.

Chowdhury FR, Nur Z, Hassan N, von Seidlein L, Dunachie S. 2017. Pandemics, pathogenicity and changing molecular epidemiology of cholera in the era of global warming. Ann Clin Microbiol Antimicrob, 16 (1), pp. 10. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Vibrio cholerae, a Gram-negative, non-spore forming curved rod is found in diverse aquatic ecosystems around the planet. It is classified according to its major surface antigen into around 206 serogroups, of which O1 and O139 cause epidemic cholera. A recent spatial modelling technique estimated that around 2.86 million cholera cases occur globally every year, and of them approximately 95,000 die. About 1.3 billion people are currently at risk of infection from cholera. Meta-analysis and mathematical modelling have demonstrated that due to global warming the burden of vector-borne diseases like malaria, leishmaniasis, meningococcal meningitis, viral encephalitis, dengue and chikungunya will increase in the coming years in the tropics and beyond. CHOLERA AND CLIMATE: This review offers an overview of the interplay between global warming and the pathogenicity and epidemiology of V. cholerae. Several distinctive features of cholera survival (optimal thriving at 15% salinity, 30 °C water temperature, and pH 8.5) indicate a possible role of climate change in triggering the epidemic process. Genetic exchange (ctxAB, zot, ace, cep, and orfU) between strains and transduction process allows potential emergence of new toxigenic clones. These processes are probably controlled by precise environmental signals such as optimum temperature, sunlight and osmotic conditions. Environmental influences on phytoplankton growth and chitin remineralization will be discussed alongside the interplay of poor sanitary conditions, overcrowding, improper sewage disposal and global warming in promoting the growth and transmission of this deadly disease. CONCLUSION: The development of an effective early warning system based on climate data could help to prevent and control future outbreaks. It may become possible to integrate real-time monitoring of oceanic regions, climate variability and epidemiological and demographic population dynamics to predict cholera outbreaks and support the design of cost-effective public health strategies.

Dance DA, Limmathurotsakul D, Currie BJ. 2017. Burkholderia pseudomallei: Challenges for the Clinical Microbiology Laboratory-a Response from the Front Line. J Clin Microbiol, 55 (3), pp. 980-982. | Read more

Saiwaew S, Sritabal J, Piaraksa N, Keayarsa S, Ruengweerayut R, Utaisin C, Sila P, Niramis R, Udomsangpetch R, Charunwatthana P et al. 2017. Effects of sevuparin on rosette formation and cytoadherence of Plasmodium falciparum infected erythrocytes. PLoS One, 12 (3), pp. e0172718. | Show Abstract | Read more

In severe falciparum malaria cytoadherence of parasitised red blood cells (PRBCs) to vascular endothelium (causing sequestration) and to uninfected red cells (causing rosette formation) contribute to microcirculatory flow obstruction in vital organs. Heparin can reverse the underlying ligand-receptor interactions, but may increase the bleeding risks. As a heparin-derived polysaccharide, sevuparin has been designed to retain anti-adhesive properties, while the antithrombin-binding domains have been eliminated, substantially diminishing its anticoagulant activity. Sevuparin has been evaluated recently in patients with uncomplicated falciparum malaria, and is currently investigated in a clinical trial for sickle cell disease. The effects of sevuparin on rosette formation and cytoadherence of Plasmodium falciparum isolates from Thailand were investigated. Trophozoite stages of P. falciparum-infected RBCs (Pf-iRBCs) were cultured from 49 patients with malaria. Pf-iRBCs were treated with sevuparin at 37°C and assessed in rosetting and in cytoadhesion assays with human dermal microvascular endothelial cells (HDMECs) under static and flow conditions. The proportion of Pf-iRBCs forming rosettes ranged from 6.5% to 26.0% (median = 12.2%). Rosetting was dose dependently disrupted by sevuparin (50% disruption by 250 μg/mL). Overall 57% of P. falciparum isolates bound to HDMECs under static conditions; median (interquartile range) Pf-iRBC binding was 8.5 (3.0-38.0) Pf-iRBCs/1000 HDMECs. Sevuparin in concentrations ≥ 100 μg/mL inhibited cytoadherence. Sevuparin disrupts P. falciparum rosette formation in a dose dependent manner and inhibits cytoadherence to endothelial cells. The data support assessment of sevuparin as an adjunctive treatment to the standard therapy in severe falciparum malaria.

Permala J, Tarning J, Nosten F, White NJ, Karlsson MO, Bergstrand M. 2017. Prediction of Improved Antimalarial Chemoprevention with Weekly Dosing of Dihydroartemisinin-Piperaquine. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, | Show Abstract | Read more

Intermittent preventive treatment (IPT) is used to reduce malaria morbidity and mortality, especially in vulnerable groups such as children and pregnant women. IPT with the fixed dose combination of piperaquine (PQ) and dihydroartemisinin (DHA) is being evaluated as a potential mass treatment to control and eliminate artemisinin resistant falciparum malaria. This study explored alternative DHA-PQ adult dosing regimens compared to the monthly adult dosing regimen currently being studied in clinical trials. A time-to-event model describing the concentration-effect relationship of preventive DHA-PQ administration was used to explore the potential clinical efficacy of once weekly adult dosing regimens. Loading dose strategies were evaluated and the advantage of weekly dosing regimen was tested against different degrees of adherence. Assuming perfect adherence, three tablets weekly dosing regimen scenarios maintained malaria incidence of 0.2-0.3% per year, compared to 2.1-2.6% for all monthly dosing regimen scenarios and 52% for placebo. The three tablets weekly dosing regimen was also more forgiving (i.e. less sensitive to poor adherence), resulting in a predicted ∼4% malaria incidence per year compared to ∼8% for dosing regimen of two tablets weekly and ∼10% for monthly regimens (assuming 60% adherence and 35% inter-individual variability). These results suggest that weekly dosing of DHA-PQ for malaria chemoprevention would improve treatment outcomes compared to monthly administration by lowering the incidence of malaria infections, reducing safety concerns about high PQ peak plasma concentrations and being more forgiving. In addition, weekly dosing is expected to reduce the selection pressure for PQ resistance.

White NJ. 2017. Malaria parasite clearance. Malar J, 16 (1), pp. 88. | Show Abstract | Read more

Following anti-malarial drug treatment asexual malaria parasite killing and clearance appear to be first order processes. Damaged malaria parasites in circulating erythrocytes are removed from the circulation mainly by the spleen. Splenic clearance functions increase markedly in acute malaria. Either the entire infected erythrocytes are removed because of their reduced deformability or increased antibody binding or, for the artemisinins which act on young ring stage parasites, splenic pitting of drug-damaged parasites is an important mechanism of clearance. The once-infected erythrocytes returned to the circulation have shortened survival. This contributes to post-artesunate haemolysis that may follow recovery in non-immune hyperparasitaemic patients. As the parasites mature Plasmodium vivax-infected erythrocytes become more deformable, whereas Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes become less deformable, but they escape splenic filtration by sequestering in venules and capillaries. Sequestered parasites are killed in situ by anti-malarial drugs and then disintegrate to be cleared by phagocytic leukocytes. After treatment with artemisinin derivatives some asexual parasites become temporarily dormant within their infected erythrocytes, and these may regrow after anti-malarial drug concentrations decline. Artemisinin resistance in P. falciparum reflects reduced ring stage susceptibility and manifests as slow parasite clearance. This is best assessed from the slope of the log-linear phase of parasitaemia reduction and is commonly measured as a parasite clearance half-life. Pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic modelling of anti-malarial drug effects on parasite clearance has proved useful in predicting therapeutic responses and in dose-optimization.

Skwark MJ, Croucher NJ, Puranen S, Chewapreecha C, Pesonen M, Xu YY, Turner P, Harris SR, Beres SB, Musser JM et al. 2017. Interacting networks of resistance, virulence and core machinery genes identified by genome-wide epistasis analysis. PLoS Genet, 13 (2), pp. e1006508. | Citations: 1 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Recent advances in the scale and diversity of population genomic datasets for bacteria now provide the potential for genome-wide patterns of co-evolution to be studied at the resolution of individual bases. Here we describe a new statistical method, genomeDCA, which uses recent advances in computational structural biology to identify the polymorphic loci under the strongest co-evolutionary pressures. We apply genomeDCA to two large population data sets representing the major human pathogens Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) and Streptococcus pyogenes (group A Streptococcus). For pneumococcus we identified 5,199 putative epistatic interactions between 1,936 sites. Over three-quarters of the links were between sites within the pbp2x, pbp1a and pbp2b genes, the sequences of which are critical in determining non-susceptibility to beta-lactam antibiotics. A network-based analysis found these genes were also coupled to that encoding dihydrofolate reductase, changes to which underlie trimethoprim resistance. Distinct from these antibiotic resistance genes, a large network component of 384 protein coding sequences encompassed many genes critical in basic cellular functions, while another distinct component included genes associated with virulence. The group A Streptococcus (GAS) data set population represents a clonal population with relatively little genetic variation and a high level of linkage disequilibrium across the genome. Despite this, we were able to pinpoint two RNA pseudouridine synthases, which were each strongly linked to a separate set of loci across the chromosome, representing biologically plausible targets of co-selection. The population genomic analysis method applied here identifies statistically significantly co-evolving locus pairs, potentially arising from fitness selection interdependence reflecting underlying protein-protein interactions, or genes whose product activities contribute to the same phenotype. This discovery approach greatly enhances the future potential of epistasis analysis for systems biology, and can complement genome-wide association studies as a means of formulating hypotheses for targeted experimental work.

Sahan K, Pell C, Smithuis F, Phyo AK, Maung SM, Indrasuta C, Dondorp AM, White NJ, Day NP, von Seidlein L, Cheah PY. 2017. Community engagement and the social context of targeted malaria treatment: a qualitative study in Kayin (Karen) State, Myanmar. Malar J, 16 (1), pp. 75. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The spread of artemisinin-resistance in Plasmodium falciparum is a threat to current global malaria control initiatives. Targeted malaria treatment (TMT), which combines mass anti-malarial administration with conventional malaria prevention and control measures, has been proposed as a strategy to tackle this problem. The effectiveness of TMT depends on high levels of population coverage and is influenced by accompanying community engagement activities and the local social context. The article explores how these factors influenced attitudes and behaviours towards TMT in Kayin (Karen) State, Myanmar. METHODS: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with villagers from study villages (N = 31) and TMT project staff (N = 14) between March and July 2015. RESULTS: Community engagement consisted of a range of activities to communicate the local malaria situation (including anti-malarial drug resistance and asymptomatic malaria), the aims of the TMT project, and its potential benefits. Community engagement was seen by staff as integral to the TMT project as a whole and not a sub-set of activities. Attitudes towards TMT (including towards community engagement) showed that developing trusting relationships helped foster participation. After initial wariness, staff received hospitality and acceptance among villagers. Offering healthcare alongside TMT proved mutually beneficial for the study and villagers. A handful of more socially-mobile and wealthy community members were reluctant to participate. The challenges of community engagement included time constraints and the isolation of the community with its limited infrastructure and a history of conflict. CONCLUSIONS: Community engagement had to be responsive to the local community even though staff faced time constraints. Understanding the social context of engagement helped TMT to foster respectful and trusting relationships. The complex relationship between the local context and community engagement complicated evaluation of the community strategy. Nonetheless, the project did record high levels of population coverage.

Drake TL, Lubell Y, Kyaw SS, Devine A, Kyaw MP, Day NP, Smithuis FM, White LJ. 2017. Geographic Resource Allocation Based on Cost Effectiveness: An Application to Malaria Policy. Appl Health Econ Health Policy, pp. 1-8. | Show Abstract | Read more

Healthcare services are often provided to a country as a whole, though in many cases the available resources can be more effectively targeted to specific geographically defined populations. In the case of malaria, risk is highly geographically heterogeneous, and many interventions, such as insecticide-treated bed nets and malaria community health workers, can be targeted to populations in a way that maximises impact for the resources available. This paper describes a framework for geographically targeted budget allocation based on the principles of cost-effectiveness analysis and applied to priority setting in malaria control and elimination. The approach can be used with any underlying model able to estimate intervention costs and effects given relevant local data. Efficient geographic targeting of core malaria interventions could significantly increase the impact of the resources available, accelerating progress towards elimination. These methods may also be applicable to priority setting in other disease areas.

Drake TL, Lubell Y. 2017. Erratum to: Malaria and Economic Evaluation Methods: Challenges and Opportunities. Appl Health Econ Health Policy, pp. 1. | Read more

Thwaites GE, Day NP. 2017. Approach to Fever in the Returning Traveler. N Engl J Med, 376 (6), pp. 548-560. | Read more

White NJ. 2017. The Consequences of Treating Asymptomatic Malaria Parasitemia. Clin Infect Dis, | Read more

Dondorp AM, Smithuis FM, Woodrow C, Seidlein LV. 2017. How to Contain Artemisinin- and Multidrug-Resistant Falciparum Malaria. Trends Parasitol, | Show Abstract | Read more

In the Greater Mekong subregion (GMS), artemisinin resistance is increasingly compounded by partner drug resistance, causing high failure rates of artemisinin combination therapies in some areas. For its containment, an accelerated elimination strategy will be needed. This includes high-quality implementation of conventional malaria control measures: early case management with quality artemisinin combination therapies (avoiding artesunate monotherapies) and single gametocytocidal low dose of primaquine, vector control and surveillance. Village health workers (VHWs) play a key role in the provision of community-based services which have to reach even the most remote populations. Additional, more aggressive, approaches will be important to accelerate malaria elimination, which could include mass drug administrations, potentially in combination with ivermectin and vaccination, mass screening and treatment with novel diagnostics, reactive case detection, and other measures.

Watson J, Taylor WR, Menard D, Kheng S, White NJ. 2017. Modelling primaquine-induced haemolysis in G6PD deficiency. Elife, 6 | Show Abstract | Read more

Primaquine is the only drug available to prevent relapse in vivax malaria. The main adverse effect of primaquine is erythrocyte age and dose-dependent acute haemolytic anaemia in individuals with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency (G6PDd). As testing for G6PDd is often unavailable, this limits the use of primaquine for radical cure. A compartmental model of the dynamics of red blood cell production and destruction was designed to characterise primaquine-induced haemolysis using a holistic Bayesian analysis of all published data and was used to predict a safer alternative to the currently recommended once weekly 0.75 mg/kg regimen for G6PDd. The model suggests that a step-wise increase in daily administered primaquine dose would be relatively safe in G6PDd. If this is confirmed, then were this regimen to be recommended for radical cure patients would not require testing for G6PDd in areas where G6PDd Viangchan or milder variants are prevalent.

Peyraud N, Rafael F, Parker LA, Quere M, Alcoba G, Korff C, Deats M, Esteve PB, Cabrol JC, Serafini M et al. 2017. An epidemic of dystonic reactions in central Africa. Lancet Glob Health, 5 (2), pp. e137-e138. | Read more

Imwong M, Suwannasin K, Kunasol C, Sutawong K, Mayxay M, Rekol H, Smithuis FM, Hlaing TM, Tun KM, van der Pluijm RW et al. 2017. The spread of artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum in the Greater Mekong Subregion: a molecular epidemiology observational study. Lancet Infect Dis, | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Evidence suggests that the PfKelch13 mutations that confer artemisinin resistance in falciparum malaria have multiple independent origins across the Greater Mekong subregion, which has motivated a regional malaria elimination agenda. We aimed to use molecular genotyping to assess antimalarial drug resistance selection and spread in the Greater Mekong subregion. METHODS: In this observational study, we tested Plasmodium falciparum isolates from Myanmar, northeastern Thailand, southern Laos, and western Cambodia for PfKelch13 mutations and for Pfplasmepsin2 gene amplification (indicating piperaquine resistance). We collected blood spots from patients with microscopy or rapid test confirmed uncomplicated falciparum malaria. We used microsatellite genotyping to assess genetic relatedness. FINDINGS: As part of studies on the epidemiology of artemisinin-resistant malaria between Jan 1, 2008, and Dec 31, 2015, we collected 434 isolates. In 2014-15, a single long PfKelch13 C580Y haplotype (-50 to +31·5 kb) lineage, which emerged in western Cambodia in 2008, was detected in 65 of 88 isolates from northeastern Thailand, 86 of 111 isolates from southern Laos, and 14 of 14 isolates from western Cambodia, signifying a hard transnational selective sweep. Pfplasmepsin2 amplification occurred only within this lineage, and by 2015 these closely related parasites were found in ten of the 14 isolates from Cambodia and 15 of 15 isolates from northeastern Thailand. C580Y mutated parasites from Myanmar had a different genetic origin. INTERPRETATION: Our results suggest that the dominant artemisinin-resistant P falciparum C580Y lineage probably arose in western Cambodia and then spread to Thailand and Laos, outcompeting other parasites and acquiring piperaquine resistance. The emergence and spread of fit artemisinin-resistant P falciparum parasite lineages, which then acquire partner drug resistance across the Greater Mekong subregion, threatens regional malaria control and elimination goals. Elimination of falciparum malaria from this region should be accelerated while available antimalarial drugs still remain effective. FUNDING: The Wellcome Trust and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Chu CS, Bancone G, Moore KA, Win HH, Thitipanawan N, Po C, Chowwiwat N, Raksapraidee R, Wilairisak P, Phyo AP et al. 2017. Haemolysis in G6PD Heterozygous Females Treated with Primaquine for Plasmodium vivax Malaria: A Nested Cohort in a Trial of Radical Curative Regimens. PLoS Med, 14 (2), pp. e1002224. | Citations: 1 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Radical cure of Plasmodium vivax malaria with 8-aminoquinolines (primaquine or tafenoquine) is complicated by haemolysis in individuals with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency. G6PD heterozygous females, because of individual variation in the pattern of X-chromosome inactivation (Lyonisation) in erythroid cells, may have low G6PD activity in the majority of their erythrocytes, yet are usually reported as G6PD "normal" by current phenotypic screening tests. Their haemolytic risk when treated with 8-aminoquinolines has not been well characterized. METHODS AND FINDINGS: In a cohort study nested within a randomised clinical trial that compared different treatment regimens for P. vivax malaria, patients with a normal standard NADPH fluorescent spot test result (≳30%-40% of normal G6PD activity) were randomised to receive 3 d of chloroquine or dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine in combination with primaquine, either the standard high dose of 0.5 mg base/kg/day for 14 d or a higher dose of 1 mg base/kg/d for 7 d. Patterns of haemolysis were compared between G6PD wild-type and G6PD heterozygous female participants. Between 21 February 2012 and 04 July 2014, 241 female participants were enrolled, of whom 34 were heterozygous for the G6PD Mahidol variant. Haemolysis was substantially greater and a larger proportion of participants reached the threshold of clinically significant haemolysis (fractional haematocrit reduction >25%) in G6PD heterozygotes taking the higher (7 d) primaquine dose (9/17 [53%]) compared with G6PD heterozygotes taking the standard high (14 d) dose (2/16 [13%]; p = 0.022). In heterozygotes, the mean fractional haematocrit reductions were correspondingly greater with the higher primaquine dose (7-d regimen): -20.4% (95% CI -26.0% to -14.8%) (nadir on day 5) compared with the standard high (14 d) dose: -13.1% (95% CI -17.6% to -8.6%) (nadir day 6). Two heterozygotes taking the higher (7 d) primaquine dose required blood transfusion. In wild-type participants, mean haematocrit reductions were clinically insignificant and similar with both doses: -5.8 (95% CI -7.2% to -4.4%) (nadir day 3) compared with -5.5% (95% CI -7.4% to -3.7%) (nadir day 4), respectively. Limitations to this nested cohort study are that the primary objective of the trial was designed to measure efficacy and not haemolysis in relation to G6PD genotype and that the heterozygote groups were small. CONCLUSION: Higher daily doses of primaquine have the potential to cause clinically significant haemolysis in G6PD heterozygous females who are reported as phenotypically normal with current point of care tests. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01640574.

Lee SJ, Ter Kuile FO, Price RN, Luxemburger C, Nosten F. 2017. Adverse effects of mefloquine for the treatment of uncomplicated malaria in Thailand: A pooled analysis of 19, 850 individual patients. PLoS One, 12 (2), pp. e0168780. | Show Abstract | Read more

Mefloquine (MQ) has been used for the treatment of malaria since the mid-1980s, first as monotherapy or as fixed combination with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (MSP) and since the mid-1990s in combination with artesunate. There is a renewed interested in MQ as part of a triple therapy for the treatment of multi-drug resistance P. falciparum malaria. The widespread use of MQ beyond south-East Asia has been constrained by reports of poor tolerability. Here we present the side effect profile of MQ for the treatment of uncomplicated malaria on the Thai-Myanmar/Cambodia borders. In total 19,850 patients received seven different regimens containing either 15 or 24-25 mg/kg of MQ, the latter given either as a single dose, or split over two or three days. The analysis focused on (predominantly) gastrointestinal and neuropsychiatric events as compared to the new fixed dose combination of MQ plus artesunate given as equal doses of 8 mg/kg MQ per day over three days. Gastrointestinal side effects were dose-dependent and associated with the severity of malaria symptoms. Serious neuropsychiatric side effects associated with MQ use were rare: for a single 25 mg/kg dose it was 11.9 per 10,000 treatments (95% confidence interval, CI, 4-285) vs. 7.8 (3-15) for the 15 mg/kg dose. The risk with 25 mg/kg was much higher when it was given as repeat dosing in patients who had failed treatment with 15 mg/kg MQ in the preceding month; (RR 6.57 (95% CI 1.33 to 32.4), p = 0.0077). MQ was best tolerated as 15 mg/kg or as 24 mg/kg when given over three days in combination with artesunate. We conclude that the tolerance of a single dose of MQ in the treatment of uncomplicated malaria is moderate, but can be improved by administering it as a split dose over three days.

Thuy-Nhien N, Tuyen NK, Tong NT, Vy T, Thanh NV, Van HT, Huong-Thu P, Quang HH, Boni MF, Dolecek C et al. 2017. K13-Propeller Mutations in Plasmodium falciparum Populations in Malaria Endemic Regions of Vietnam from 2009 to 2016. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, | Show Abstract | Read more

The spread of artemisinin resistant P. falciparum compromises the therapeutic efficacy of artemisinin combination therapies (ACT) and is considered the greatest threat to current global initiatives to control and eliminate malaria. This is particularly relevant for Vietnam, where dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DP) is the recommended ACT for P. falciparum The propeller domain gene of K13, a molecular marker of artemisinin resistance, was sequenced successfully in 1060 P. falciparum isolates collected at 3 malaria hotspots in Vietnam between 2009 and 2016. Eight K13 propeller mutations (Thr474Ile, Tyr493His, Arg539Thr, Ile543Thr, Pro553Leu, Val568Gly, Pro574Leu and Cys580Tyr) were found, including several that have been validated as artemisinin resistant markers. The prevalences of K13 mutations were 29% (222/767), 6% (11/188) and 43% (45/105) in in Binh Phuoc, Ninh Thuan and Gia Lai respectively. Cys580Tyr became the dominant genotype in recent years comprising 79.1% (34/43) of isolates in Binh Phuoc and 63% (17/27) in Gia Lai Province. K13 mutations were associated with reduced ring stage susceptibility to dihydroartemisinin (DHA) in-vitro and prolonged parasite clearance in-vivo. An analysis of haplotypes flanking K13 suggested the presence of multiple strains with Cys580Tyr, rather than a single strain expanding across the three sites.

Chewapreecha C, Holden MT, Vehkala M, Välimäki N, Yang Z, Harris SR, Mather AE, Tuanyok A, De Smet B, Le Hello S et al. 2017. Global and regional dissemination and evolution of Burkholderia pseudomallei. Nat Microbiol, 2 pp. 16263. | Show Abstract | Read more

The environmental bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei causes an estimated 165,000 cases of human melioidosis per year worldwide and is also classified as a biothreat agent. We used whole genome sequences of 469 B. pseudomallei isolates from 30 countries collected over 79 years to explore its geographic transmission. Our data point to Australia as an early reservoir, with transmission to Southeast Asia followed by onward transmission to South Asia and East Asia. Repeated reintroductions were observed within the Malay Peninsula and between countries bordered by the Mekong River. Our data support an African origin of the Central and South American isolates with introduction of B. pseudomallei into the Americas between 1650 and 1850, providing a temporal link with the slave trade. We also identified geographically distinct genes/variants in Australasian or Southeast Asian isolates alone, with virulence-associated genes being among those over-represented. This provides a potential explanation for clinical manifestations of melioidosis that are geographically restricted.

Hearn P, Miliya T, Seng S, Ngoun C, Day NP, Lubell Y, Turner C, Turner P. 2017. Prospective surveillance of healthcare associated infections in a Cambodian pediatric hospital. Antimicrob Resist Infect Control, 6 (1), pp. 16. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Healthcare associated infections (HAI) are the most common preventable adverse events following admission to healthcare facilities. Data from low-income countries are scarce. We sought to prospectively define HAI incidence at Angkor Hospital for Children (AHC), a Cambodian pediatric referral hospital. METHODS: Prospective HAI surveillance was introduced for medical admissions to AHC. Cases were identified on daily ward rounds and confirmed using locally adapted Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) definitions. During the surveillance period, established infection prevention and control (IPC) activities continued, including hand hygiene surveillance. In addition, antimicrobial stewardship practices such as the creation of an antimicrobial guideline smartphone app were introduced. RESULTS: Between 1st January and 31st December 2015 there were 3,263 medical admissions and 102 HAI cases. The incidence of HAI was 4.6/1,000 patient-days (95% confidence interval 3.8-5.6) and rates were highest amongst neonates. Median length of stay was significantly longer in HAI cases: 25 days versus 5 days for non-HAI cases (p < 0.0001). All-cause in-hospital mortality increased from 2.0 to 16.1% with HAI (p < 0.0001). Respiratory infections were the most common HAI (54/102; 52.9%). Amongst culture positive infections, Gram-negative organisms predominated (13/16; 81.3%). Resistance to third generation cephalosporins was common, supporting the use of more expensive carbapenem drugs empirically in HAI cases. The total cost of treatment for all 102 HCAI cases combined, based on additional inpatient days, was estimated to be $299,608. CONCLUSIONS: Prospective HAI surveillance can form part of routine practice in low-income healthcare settings. HAI incidence at AHC was relatively low, but human and financial costs remained high due to increased carbapenem use, prolonged admissions and higher mortality rates.

Thielemans L, Trip-Hoving M, Bancone G, Turner C, Simpson JA, Hanboonkunupakarn B, van Hensbroek MB, van Rheenen P, Paw MK, Nosten F et al. 2017. Neonatal Hyperbilirubinemia in a Marginalized Population on the Thai-Myanmar Border: a study protocol. BMC Pediatr, 17 (1), pp. 32. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: This study aims to identify risk factors and the neurodevelopmental impact of neonatal hyperbilirubinemia in a limited-resource setting among a refugee and migrant population residing along the Thai-Myanmar border, an area with a high prevalence of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase-deficiency. METHODS: This is an analytic, observational, prospective birth cohort study including all infants of estimated gestational age equal to or greater than 28 weeks from mothers who followed antenatal care in the Shoklo Malaria Research Unit clinics. At birth, a series of clinical exams and laboratory investigations on cord blood will be carried out. Serum bilirubin will be measured in all infants during their first week of life. All the infants of the cohort will be clinically followed until the age of one year, including monitoring of their neurodevelopment. DISCUSSION: The strength of this study is the prospective cohort design. It will allow us to collect information about the pregnancy and detect all infants with neonatal hyperbilirubinemia, to observe their clinical response under treatment and to compare their neurodevelopment with infants who did not develop neonatal hyperbilirubinemia. Our study design has some limitations in particular the generalizability of our findings will be limited to infants born after the gestational age of 28 weeks onwards and neurodevelopment to the end of the first year of life. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov ID NCT02361788 , registration date September 1st, 2014.

Drake TL, Lubell Y. 2017. Malaria and Economic Evaluation Methods: Challenges and Opportunities. Appl Health Econ Health Policy, pp. 1-7. | Show Abstract | Read more

There is a growing evidence base on the cost effectiveness of malaria interventions. However, certain characteristics of malaria decision problems present a challenge to the application of healthcare economic evaluation methods. This paper identifies five such challenges. The complexities of (i) declining incidence and cost effectiveness in the context of an elimination campaign; (ii) international aid and its effect on resource constraints; and (iii) supranational priority setting, all affect how health economists might use a cost-effectiveness threshold. Consensus and guidance on how to determine and interpret cost-effectiveness thresholds in the context of internationally financed elimination campaigns is greatly needed. (iv) Malaria interventions are often complimentary and evaluations may need to construct intervention bundles to represent relevant policy positions as sets of mutually exclusive alternatives. (v) Geographic targeting is a key aspect of malaria policy making that is only beginning to be addressed in economic evaluations. An approach to budget-based geographic resource allocation is described in an accompanying paper in this issue and addresses some of these methodological challenges.

Lehtinen S, Blanquart F, Croucher NJ, Turner P, Lipsitch M, Fraser C. 2017. Evolution of antibiotic resistance is linked to any genetic mechanism affecting bacterial duration of carriage. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 114 (5), pp. 1075-1080. | Show Abstract | Read more

Understanding how changes in antibiotic consumption affect the prevalence of antibiotic resistance in bacterial pathogens is important for public health. In a number of bacterial species, including Streptococcus pneumoniae, the prevalence of resistance has remained relatively stable despite prolonged selection pressure from antibiotics. The evolutionary processes allowing the robust coexistence of antibiotic sensitive and resistant strains are not fully understood. While allelic diversity can be maintained at a locus by direct balancing selection, there is no evidence for such selection acting in the case of resistance. In this work, we propose a mechanism for maintaining coexistence at the resistance locus: linkage to a second locus that is under balancing selection and that modulates the fitness effect of resistance. We show that duration of carriage plays such a role, with long duration of carriage increasing the fitness advantage gained from resistance. We therefore predict that resistance will be more common in strains with a long duration of carriage and that mechanisms maintaining diversity in duration of carriage will also maintain diversity in antibiotic resistance. We test these predictions in S. pneumoniae and find that the duration of carriage of a serotype is indeed positively correlated with the prevalence of resistance in that serotype. These findings suggest heterogeneity in duration of carriage is a partial explanation for the coexistence of sensitive and resistant strains and that factors determining bacterial duration of carriage will also affect the prevalence of resistance.

Sadiq MB, Tarning J, Aye Cho TZ, Anal AK. 2017. Antibacterial Activities and Possible Modes of Action of Acacia nilotica (L.) Del. against Multidrug-Resistant Escherichia coli and Salmonella. Molecules, 22 (1), | Show Abstract | Read more

Medicinal plants are frequently used for the treatment of various infectious diseases. The objective of this study was to evaluate the antibacterial activity and mode of action of Acacia nilotica and the antibiogram patterns of foodborne and clinical strains of Escherichia coli and Salmonella. The mechanism of action of acacia extracts against E. coli and Salmonella was elucidated by observing morphological damages including cell integrity and cell membrane permeability, as well as changes in cell structures and growth patterns in kill-time experiments. The clinical isolates of E. coli and Salmonella were found resistant to more of the tested antibiotics, compared to food isolates. Minimum inhibitory concentration and minimum bactericidal concentration of acacia leaf extracts were in the ranges of 1.56-3.12 mg/mL and 3.12-6.25 mg/mL, respectively, whereas pods and bark extracts showed somewhat higher values of 3.12-6.25 mg/mL and 6.25-12.5 mg/mL, respectively, against all tested pathogens. The release of electrolytes and essential cellular constituents (proteins and nucleic acids) indicated that acacia extracts damaged the cellular membrane of the pathogens. These changes corresponded to simultaneous reduction in the growth of viable bacteria. This study indicates that A. nilotica can be a potential source of new antimicrobials, effective against antibiotic-resistant strains of pathogens.

Tschirhart N, Thi SS, Swe LL, Nosten F, Foster AM. 2017. Treating the invisible: Gaps and opportunities for enhanced TB control along the Thailand-Myanmar border. BMC Health Serv Res, 17 (1), pp. 29. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: In Thailand's northwestern Tak province, contextual conditions along the border with Myanmar pose difficulties for TB control among migrant populations. Incomplete surveillance data, migrant patient mobility, and loss to follow-up make it difficult to estimate the TB burden and implement effective TB control measures. This multi-methods study examined tuberculosis, tuberculosis and human immunodeficiency virus co-infection, and multidrug-resistant tuberculosis treatment accessibility for migrants and refugees in Tak province, health system response, and public health surveillance. METHODS: In this study we conducted 13 interviews with key informants working in public health or TB treatment provision to elicit information on TB treatment availability and TB surveillance practices. In addition we organized 15 focus group discussions with refugee and migrant TB, TB/HIV, and MDR-TB patients and non-patients to discuss treatment access. We analyzed the data using thematic analysis and created treatment availability maps with Google maps. RESULTS: The study identified surveillance, treatment, and funding gaps. Migrant TB cases are underreported in the provincial statistics due to jurisdictional interpretations and resource barriers. Our results suggest that TB/HIV and MDR-TB treatment options are limited for migrants and a heavy reliance on donor funding may lead to potential funding gaps for migrant TB services. We identified several opportunities that positively contribute to TB control in Tak province: improved diagnostics, comprehensive care, and collaboration through data sharing, planning, and patient referrals. The various organizations providing TB treatment to migrant and refugee populations along the border and the Tak Provincial Public Health Office are highly collaborative which offers a strong foundation for future TB control initiatives. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest the need to enhance the surveillance system to include all migrant TB patients who seek treatment in Tak province and support efforts by stakeholders on both sides of the border to continue to share data and engage in collaborative planning on TB, TB/HIV, and MDR-TB treatment provision for migrant populations.

Thanh NV, Thuy-Nhien N, Tuyen NT, Tong NT, Nha-Ca NT, Dong LT, Quang HH, Farrar J, Thwaites G, White NJ et al. 2017. Rapid decline in the susceptibility of Plasmodium falciparum to dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine in the south of Vietnam. Malar J, 16 (1), pp. 27. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Artemisinin resistant Plasmodium falciparum has emerged in the countries of the Greater Mekong sub-region posing a serious threat to global malaria elimination efforts. The relationship of artemisinin resistance to treatment failure has been unclear. METHODS: In annual studies conducted in three malaria endemic provinces in the south of Vietnam (Binh Phuoc, Ninh Thuan and Gia Lai) between 2011 and 2015, 489 patients with uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria were enrolled in detailed clinical, parasitological and molecular therapeutic response assessments with 42 days follow up. Patients received the national recommended first-line treatment dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine for three days. RESULTS: Over the 5 years the proportion of patients with detectable parasitaemia on day 3 rose steadily from 38 to 57% (P < 0.001). In Binh Phuoc province, the parasite clearance half-life increased from 3.75 h in 2011 to 6.60 h in 2015 (P < 0.001), while treatment failures rose from 0% in 2012 and 2013, to 7% in 2014 and 26% in 2015 (P < 0.001). Recrudescence was associated with in vitro evidence of artemisinin and piperaquine resistance. In the treatment failures cases of 2015, all 14 parasite isolates carried the C580Y Pfkelch 13 gene, marker of artemisinin resistance and 93% (13/14) of them carried exoE415G mutations, markers of piperaquine resistance. CONCLUSIONS: In the south of Vietnam recent emergence of piperaquine resistant P. falciparum strains has accelerated the reduced response to artemisinin and has led to treatment failure rates of up to 26% to dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine, Vietnam's current first-line ACT. Alternative treatments are urgently needed.

Cho JS, Russell B, Kosaisavee V, Zhang R, Colin Y, Bertrand O, Chandramohanadas R, Chu CS, Nosten F, Renia L, Malleret B. 2017. Corrigendum to "Unambiguous determination of Plasmodium vivax reticulocyte invasion by flow cytometry" [Int. J. Parasitol. 46 (2016) 31-39]. Int J Parasitol, 47 (4), pp. 237. | Read more

Nguyen TN, Thu PN, Hung NT, Son DH, Tien NT, Van Dung N, Quang HH, Seidlein LV, Cheah PY, Dondorp AM et al. 2017. Community perceptions of targeted anti-malarial mass drug administrations in two provinces in Vietnam: a quantitative survey. Malar J, 16 (1), pp. 17. | Citations: 1 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: As part of a targeted malaria elimination project, mass drug administrations (MDAs) were conducted in Vietnam. The impact of MDAs on malaria transmission depends largely on the efficacy of the anti-malarial drug regimen, the malaria epidemiology in the site and the population coverage. To explore why some people participate in MDAs and others do not, a quantitative survey of the villagers' perceptions was undertaken in Vietnam. METHODS: In 2013/2014 MDAs were conducted in a village in Binh Phuoc province and a village in Ninh Thuan province. Within three months of the drug administration, 59 respondents in a village in Binh Phuoc and 79 respondents in a village in Ninh Thuan were randomly selected and interviewed. RESULTS: Comprehension of the purpose of the intervention was of paramount importance for participation in the intervention. Respondents aware that the intervention aims to protect against malaria were significantly more likely to participate than respondents who were unaware of the MDA's purpose. Secondly, how and by whom villagers were informed was critical for participation. There was a strong association between sensitization by an informant such as a member of the local health team with participation in the intervention. CONCLUSIONS: The study suggests several approaches to increase participation in mass drug administration campaigns. Training trustworthy informants to sensitize the study population is critical to maximize village participation in this setting. To achieve high coverage the entire community must understand and agree with the intervention.

Pan-Ngum W, Kinyanjui T, Kiti M, Taylor S, Toussaint JF, Saralamba S, Van Effelterre T, Nokes DJ, White LJ. 2017. Predicting the relative impacts of maternal and neonatal respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine target product profiles: A consensus modelling approach. Vaccine, 35 (2), pp. 403-409. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the major viral cause of infant and childhood lower respiratory tract disease worldwide. Defining the optimal target product profile (TPP) is complicated due to a wide range of possible vaccine properties, modalities and an incomplete understanding of the mechanism of natural immunity. We report consensus population level impact projections based on two mathematical models applied to a low income setting. METHOD: Two structurally distinct age-specific deterministic compartmental models reflecting uncertainty associated with the natural history of infection and the mechanism by which immunity is acquired and lost were constructed. A wide range of vaccine TPPs were explored including dosing regime and uptake, and effects in the vaccinated individual on infectiousness, susceptibility, duration of protection, disease severity and interaction with maternal antibodies and natural induced immunity. These were combined with a range of vaccine implementation strategies, targeting the highest priority age group and calibrated using hospitalization data from Kilifi County Hospital, Kenya. FINDINGS: Both models were able to reproduce the data. The impact predicted by the two models was qualitatively similar across the range of TPPs, although one model consistently predicted higher impact than the other. For a proposed realistic range of scenarios of TPP combinations, the models predicted up to 70% reduction in hospitalizations in children under five years old. Vaccine designs which reduced the duration and infectiousness of infection were predicted to have higher impacts. The models were sensitive to the coverage and rate of loss of vaccine protection but not to the interaction between vaccine and maternal/naturally acquired immunity. CONCLUSION: The results suggest that vaccine properties leading to reduced virus circulation by lessening the duration and infectiousness of infection upon challenge are of major importance in population RSV disease control. These features should be a focus for vaccine development.

Hoglund RM, Workman L, Edstein MD, Thanh NX, Quang NN, Zongo I, Ouedraogo JB, Borrmann S, Mwai L, Nsanzabana C et al. 2017. Population Pharmacokinetic Properties of Piperaquine in Falciparum Malaria: An Individual Participant Data Meta-Analysis. PLoS Med, 14 (1), pp. e1002212. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) are the mainstay of the current treatment of uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria, but ACT resistance is spreading across Southeast Asia. Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine is one of the five ACTs currently recommended by the World Health Organization. Previous studies suggest that young children (<5 y) with malaria are under-dosed. This study utilised a population-based pharmacokinetic approach to optimise the antimalarial treatment regimen for piperaquine. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Published pharmacokinetic studies on piperaquine were identified through a systematic literature review of articles published between 1 January 1960 and 15 February 2013. Individual plasma piperaquine concentration-time data from 11 clinical studies (8,776 samples from 728 individuals) in adults and children with uncomplicated malaria and healthy volunteers were collated and standardised by the WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network. Data were pooled and analysed using nonlinear mixed-effects modelling. Piperaquine pharmacokinetics were described successfully by a three-compartment disposition model with flexible absorption. Body weight influenced clearance and volume parameters significantly, resulting in lower piperaquine exposures in small children (<25 kg) compared to larger children and adults (≥25 kg) after administration of the manufacturers' currently recommended dose regimens. Simulated median (interquartile range) day 7 plasma concentration was 29.4 (19.3-44.3) ng/ml in small children compared to 38.1 (25.8-56.3) ng/ml in larger children and adults, with the recommended dose regimen. The final model identified a mean (95% confidence interval) increase of 23.7% (15.8%-32.5%) in piperaquine bioavailability between each piperaquine dose occasion. The model also described an enzyme maturation function in very young children, resulting in 50% maturation at 0.575 (0.413-0.711) y of age. An evidence-based optimised dose regimen was constructed that would provide piperaquine exposures across all ages comparable to the exposure currently seen in a typical adult with standard treatment, without exceeding the concentration range observed with the manufacturers' recommended regimen. Limited data were available in infants and pregnant women with malaria as well as in healthy individuals. CONCLUSIONS: The derived population pharmacokinetic model was used to develop a revised dose regimen of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine that is expected to provide equivalent piperaquine exposures safely in all patients, including in small children with malaria. Use of this dose regimen is expected to prolong the useful therapeutic life of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine by increasing cure rates and thereby slowing resistance development. This work was part of the evidence that informed the World Health Organization technical guidelines development group in the development of the recently published treatment guidelines (2015).

Jeeyapant A, Kingston HW, Plewes K, Maude RJ, Hanson J, Herdman MT, Leopold SJ, Ngernseng T, Charunwatthana P, Phu NH et al. 2017. Defining Surrogate Endpoints for Clinical Trials in Severe Falciparum Malaria. PLoS One, 12 (1), pp. e0169307. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Clinical trials in severe falciparum malaria require a large sample size to detect clinically meaningful differences in mortality. This means few interventions can be evaluated at any time. Using a validated surrogate endpoint for mortality would provide a useful alternative allowing a smaller sample size. Here we evaluate changes in coma score and plasma lactate as surrogate endpoints for mortality in severe falciparum malaria. METHODS: Three datasets of clinical studies in severe malaria were re-evaluated: studies from Chittagong, Bangladesh (adults), the African 'AQUAMAT' trial comparing artesunate and quinine (children), and the Vietnamese 'AQ' study (adults) comparing artemether with quinine. The absolute change, relative change, slope of the normalization over time, and time to normalization were derived from sequential measurements of plasma lactate and coma score, and validated for their use as surrogate endpoint, including the proportion of treatment effect on mortality explained (PTE) by these surrogate measures. RESULTS: Improvements in lactate concentration or coma scores over the first 24 hours of admission, were strongly prognostic for survival in all datasets. In hyperlactataemic patients in the AQ study (n = 173), lower mortality with artemether compared to quinine closely correlated with faster reduction in plasma lactate concentration, with a high PTE of the relative change in plasma lactate at 8 and 12 hours of 0.81 and 0.75, respectively. In paediatric patients enrolled in the 'AQUAMAT' study with cerebral malaria (n = 785), mortality was lower with artesunate compared to quinine, but this was not associated with faster coma recovery. CONCLUSIONS: The relative changes in plasma lactate concentration assessed at 8 or 12 hours after admission are valid surrogate endpoints for severe malaria studies on antimalarial drugs or adjuvant treatments aiming at improving the microcirculation. Measures of coma recovery are not valid surrogate endpoints for mortality.

Sengvilaipaseuth O, Phommasone K, de Lamballerie X, Vongsouvath M, Phonemixay O, Blacksell SD, Mayxay M, Keomany S, Souvannasing P, Newton PN, Dubot-Pérès A. 2017. Temperature of a Dengue Rapid Diagnostic Test under Tropical Climatic Conditions: A Follow Up Study. PLoS One, 12 (1), pp. e0170359. | Show Abstract | Read more

The Dengue Duo Rapid Diagnostic Test (SD Dengue RDT) has good specificity and sensitivity for dengue diagnosis in rural tropical areas. In a previous study, using four control sera, we demonstrated that that the diagnostic accuracy of these RDTs remains stable after long-term storage at high temperatures. We extended this study by testing sera from 119 febrile patients collected between July-November 2012 at Salavan Provincial Hospital (southern Laos) with RDTs stored for 6 months at 4°C, 35° and in a hut (miniature traditional house) at Lao ambient temperatures. The dengue NS1 antigen results from RDTs stored at 35°C and in the hut demonstrated 100% agreement with those stored at 4°C. However, lower positive percent agreements, with broad 95%CI, were observed for the tests: IgM, 60% (14.7-94.7) and 40% (5.3-85.3) for RDTs store at 35°C and in the hut, compared to those stored at 4°C, respectively. This study strenghtens the evidence of the robustness of the NS1 antigen detection RDT for the diagnosis of dengue after storage at tropical temperatures.

Bell D, Bwanika JB, Cunningham J, Gatton M, González IJ, Hopkins H, Kibira SP, Kyabayinze DJ, Mayxay M, Ndawula B et al. 2017. Prototype Positive Control Wells for Malaria Rapid Diagnostic Tests: Prospective Evaluation of Implementation Among Health Workers in Lao People's Democratic Republic and Uganda. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 96 (2), pp. 319-329. | Show Abstract | Read more

Rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) are widely used for malaria diagnosis, but lack of quality control at point of care restricts trust in test results. Prototype positive control wells (PCW) containing recombinant malaria antigens have been developed to identify poor-quality RDT lots. This study assessed community and facility health workers' (HW) ability to use PCWs to detect degraded RDTs, the impact of PCW availability on RDT use and prescribing, and preferred strategies for implementation in Lao People's Democratic Republic (Laos) and Uganda. A total of 557 HWs participated in Laos (267) and Uganda (290). After training, most (88% to ≥ 99%) participants correctly performed the six key individual PCW steps; performance was generally maintained during the 6-month study period. Nearly all (97%) reported a correct action based on PCW use at routine work sites. In Uganda, where data for 127,775 individual patients were available, PCW introduction in health facilities was followed by a decrease in antimalarial prescribing for RDT-negative patients ≥ 5 years of age (4.7-1.9%); among community-based HWs, the decrease was 12.2% (P < 0.05) for all patients. Qualitative data revealed PCWs as a way to confirm RDT quality and restore confidence in RDT results. HWs in malaria-endemic areas are able to use prototype PCWs for quality control of malaria RDTs. PCW availability can improve HWs' confidence in RDT results, and benefit malaria diagnostic programs. Lessons learned from this study may be valuable for introduction of other point-of-care diagnostic and quality-control tools. Future work should evaluate longer term impacts of PCWs on patient management.

Stephens T, De Silva AP, Beane A, Welch J, Sigera C, De Alwis S, Athapattu P, Dharmagunawardene D, Peiris L, Siriwardana S et al. 2017. Capacity building for critical care training delivery: Development and evaluation of the Network for Improving Critical care Skills Training (NICST) programme in Sri Lanka. Intensive Crit Care Nurs, 39 pp. 28-36. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVES: To deliver and evaluate a short critical care nurse training course whilst simultaneously building local training capacity. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY: A multi-modal short course for critical care nursing skills was delivered in seven training blocks, from 06/2013-11/2014. Each training block included a Train the Trainer programme. The project was evaluated using Kirkpatrick's Hierarchy of Learning. There was a graded hand over of responsibility for course delivery from overseas to local faculty between 2013 and 2014. SETTING: Sri Lanka. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Participant learning assessed through pre/post course Multi-Choice Questionnaires. RESULTS: A total of 584 nurses and 29 faculty were trained. Participant feedback was consistently positive and each course demonstrated a significant increase (p≤0.0001) in MCQ scores. There was no significant difference MCQ scores (p=0.186) between overseas faculty led and local faculty led courses. CONCLUSIONS: In a relatively short period, training with good educational outcomes was delivered to nearly 25% of the critical care nursing population in Sri Lanka whilst simultaneously building a local faculty of trainers. Through use of a structured Train the Trainer programme, course outcomes were maintained following the handover of training responsibility to Sri Lankan faculty. The focus on local capacity building increases the possibility of long term course sustainability.

Hien TT, White NJ, Thuy-Nhien NT, Hoa NT, Thuan PD, Tarning J, Nosten F, Magnusson B, Jain JP, Hamed K. 2017. Estimation of the In Vivo MIC of Cipargamin in Uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum Malaria. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 61 (2), | Show Abstract | Read more

The MIC of an antimalarial drug for a particular infection is the drug level associated with a net parasite multiplication rate of one per asexual cycle. To ensure the cure of malaria, the MIC must be exceeded until all parasites have been eliminated. The development of highly sensitive and accurate PCR quantitation of low-density malaria parasitemia enables the prospective pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic (PK-PD) characterization of antimalarial drug effects and now allows identification of the in vivo MIC. An adaptive design and a PK-PD modeling approach were used to determine prospectively the MIC of the new antimalarial cipargamin (KAE609) in adults with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria in an open-label, dose-ranging phase 2a study. Vietnamese adults with acute P. falciparum malaria were allocated sequentially to treatment with a single 30-mg (n = 6), 20-mg (n = 5), 10-mg (n = 7), or 15-mg (n = 7) dose of cipargamin. Artemisinin-based combination therapy was given after parasite densities had fallen and then risen as cipargamin levels declined below the MIC but before a return of signs or symptoms. The rates of parasite clearance were dose dependent, with near saturation of the effect being seen at an adult dose of 30 mg. The developed PK-PD model accurately predicted the therapeutic responses in 23/25 patients. The predicted median in vivo MIC was 0.126 ng/ml (range, 0.038 to 0.803 ng/ml). Pharmacometric characterization of the relationship between antimalarial drug concentrations and parasite clearance rates following graded subtherapeutic antimalarial drug dosing is safe and provides a rational framework for dose finding in antimalarial drug development. (This study has been registered at ClinicalTrials.gov under identifier NCT01836458.).

White NJ. 2017. Does antimalarial mass drug administration increase or decrease the risk of resistance? Lancet Infect Dis, 17 (1), pp. e15-e20. | Show Abstract | Read more

All antimalarial drugs developed so far have eventually succumbed to resistance. There is a general belief that the more people that are exposed to an antimalarial drug, the more likely it is that resistance will emerge. Mass drug administration (MDA) is therefore considered a potent cause of antimalarial drug resistance. In this Personal View, I discuss the circumstances under which antimalarial MDA increases or decreases the risk of resistance. It is the total number of parasites exposed and their individual probabilities of survival and spread that determine the risk, not the number of people that contain them. In malaria-endemic areas, a substantial proportion of the community carries malaria parasites in their blood without being ill. Although many more people have asymptomatic than symptomatic malaria at any time, their parasite burdens are several orders of magnitude lower, and their host defence mechanisms are substantially more effective. Symptomatic infections with high parasite numbers are the most likely source of resistance emergence, so effective mass treatment that reduces the number of symptomatic cases of malaria and its transmission can reduce the threat of antimalarial resistance emerging and spreading in treated populations.

Amato R, Lim P, Miotto O, Amaratunga C, Dek D, Pearson RD, Almagro-Garcia J, Neal AT, Sreng S, Suon S et al. 2017. Genetic markers associated with dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine failure in Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Cambodia: a genotype-phenotype association study. Lancet Infect Dis, 17 (2), pp. 164-173. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: As the prevalence of artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria increases in the Greater Mekong subregion, emerging resistance to partner drugs in artemisinin combination therapies seriously threatens global efforts to treat and eliminate this disease. Molecular markers that predict failure of artemisinin combination therapy are urgently needed to monitor the spread of partner drug resistance, and to recommend alternative treatments in southeast Asia and beyond. METHODS: We did a genome-wide association study of 297 P falciparum isolates from Cambodia to investigate the relationship of 11 630 exonic single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and 43 copy number variations (CNVs) with in-vitro piperaquine 50% inhibitory concentrations (IC50s), and tested whether these genetic variants are markers of treatment failure with dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine. We then did a survival analysis of 133 patients to determine whether candidate molecular markers predicted parasite recrudescence following dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine treatment. FINDINGS: Piperaquine IC50s increased significantly from 2011 to 2013 in three Cambodian provinces (2011 vs 2013 median IC50s: 20·0 nmol/L [IQR 13·7-29·0] vs 39·2 nmol/L [32·8-48·1] for Ratanakiri, 19·3 nmol/L [15·1-26·2] vs 66·2 nmol/L [49·9-83·0] for Preah Vihear, and 19·6 nmol/L [11·9-33·9] vs 81·1 nmol/L [61·3-113·1] for Pursat; all p≤10(-3); Kruskal-Wallis test). Genome-wide analysis of SNPs identified a chromosome 13 region that associates with raised piperaquine IC50s. A non-synonymous SNP (encoding a Glu415Gly substitution) in this region, within a gene encoding an exonuclease, associates with parasite recrudescence following dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine treatment. Genome-wide analysis of CNVs revealed that a single copy of the mdr1 gene on chromosome 5 and a novel amplification of the plasmepsin 2 and plasmepsin 3 genes on chromosome 14 also associate with raised piperaquine IC50s. After adjusting for covariates, both exo-E415G and plasmepsin 2-3 markers significantly associate (p=3·0 × 10(-8) and p=1·7 × 10(-7), respectively) with decreased treatment efficacy (survival rates 0·38 [95% CI 0·25-0·51] and 0·41 [0·28-0·53], respectively). INTERPRETATION: The exo-E415G SNP and plasmepsin 2-3 amplification are markers of piperaquine resistance and dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine failures in Cambodia, and can help monitor the spread of these phenotypes into other countries of the Greater Mekong subregion, and elucidate the mechanism of piperaquine resistance. Since plasmepsins are involved in the parasite's haemoglobin-to-haemozoin conversion pathway, targeted by related antimalarials, plasmepsin 2-3 amplification probably mediates piperaquine resistance. FUNDING: Intramural Research Program of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Wellcome Trust, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Medical Research Council, and UK Department for International Development.

Dondorp AM. 2017. New genetic marker for piperaquine resistance in Plasmodium falciparum. Lancet Infect Dis, 17 (2), pp. 119-121. | Read more

Anderson TJ, Nair S, McDew-White M, Cheeseman IH, Nkhoma S, Bilgic F, McGready R, Ashley E, Pyae Phyo A, White NJ, Nosten F. 2017. Population Parameters Underlying an Ongoing Soft Sweep in Southeast Asian Malaria Parasites. Mol Biol Evol, 34 (1), pp. 131-144. | Show Abstract | Read more

Multiple kelch13 alleles conferring artemisinin resistance (ART-R) are currently spreading through Southeast Asian malaria parasite populations, providing a unique opportunity to observe an ongoing soft selective sweep, investigate why resistance alleles have evolved multiple times and determine fundamental population genetic parameters for Plasmodium We sequenced kelch13 (n = 1,876), genotyped 75 flanking SNPs, and measured clearance rate (n = 3,552) in parasite infections from Western Thailand (2001-2014). We describe 32 independent coding mutations including common mutations outside the kelch13 propeller associated with significant reductions in clearance rate. Mutations were first observed in 2003 and rose to 90% by 2014, consistent with a selection coefficient of ∼0.079. ART-R allele diversity rose until 2012 and then dropped as one allele (C580Y) spread to high frequency. The frequency with which adaptive alleles arise is determined by the rate of mutation and the population size. Two factors drive this soft sweep: (1) multiple kelch13 amino-acid mutations confer resistance providing a large mutational target-we estimate the target is 87-163 bp. (2) The population mutation parameter (Θ = 2Neμ) can be estimated from the frequency distribution of ART-R alleles and is ∼5.69, suggesting that short term effective population size is 88 thousand to 1.2 million. This is 52-705 times greater than Ne estimated from fluctuation in allele frequencies, suggesting that we have previously underestimated the capacity for adaptive evolution in Plasmodium Our central conclusions are that retrospective studies may underestimate the complexity of selective events and the Ne relevant for adaptation for malaria is considerably higher than previously estimated.

Woodrow CJ, White NJ. 2017. The clinical impact of artemisinin resistance in Southeast Asia and the potential for future spread. FEMS Microbiol Rev, 41 (1), pp. 34-48. | Show Abstract | Read more

Artemisinins are the most rapidly acting of currently available antimalarial drugs. Artesunate has become the treatment of choice for severe malaria, and artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) are the foundation of modern falciparum malaria treatment globally. Their safety and tolerability profile is excellent. Unfortunately, Plasmodium falciparum infections with mutations in the 'K13' gene, with reduced ring-stage susceptibility to artemisinins, and slow parasite clearance in patients treated with ACTs, are now widespread in Southeast Asia. We review clinical efficacy data from the region (2000-2015) that provides strong evidence that the loss of first-line ACTs in western Cambodia, first artesunate-mefloquine and then DHA-piperaquine, can be attributed primarily to K13 mutated parasites. The ring-stage activity of artemisinins is therefore critical for the sustained efficacy of ACTs; once it is lost, rapid selection of partner drug resistance and ACT failure are inevitable consequences. Consensus methods for monitoring artemisinin resistance are now available. Despite increased investment in regional control activities, ACTs are failing across an expanding area of the Greater Mekong subregion. Although multiple K13 mutations have arisen independently, successful multidrug-resistant parasite genotypes are taking over and threaten to spread to India and Africa. Stronger containment efforts and new approaches to sustaining long-term efficacy of antimalarial regimens are needed to prevent a global malaria emergency.

Prins TJ, Trip-Hoving M, Paw MK, Ka ML, Win NN, Htoo G, Hser MK, Chotivanich K, Nosten F, McGready R. 2017. A Survey of Practice and Knowledge of Refugee and Migrant Pregnant Mothers Surrounding Neonatal Jaundice on the Thailand-Myanmar Border. J Trop Pediatr, 63 (1), pp. 50-56. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: In populations with a high prevalence of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency, practices that can induce haemolysis need to be identified to raise awareness of preventable risks. The aim of this survey was to determine the proportion of prospective mothers using haemolytic agents and their knowledge and practice surrounding neonatal jaundice. METHODS: Pregnant mothers were invited to participate in a cross-sectional survey conducted at Shoklo Malaria Research Unit on the Thailand-Myanmar border. RESULTS: From 12 April 2015 to 12 June 2015, 522 pregnant women completed the survey. Mothball use in the household was reported by 41.4% (216 of 522) of prospective mothers and menthol containing products on baby skin by 46.7% (244 of 522). CONCLUSION: Just over 40% of the households reported use of naphthalene-containing mothballs. Future health promotion activities that focus on reducing naphthalene mothball and menthol-containing products use have the potential to reduce rates of severe neonatal jaundice in this population.

Wu PJ, Jeyaratnam D, Tosas O, Cooper BS, French GL. 2017. Point-of-care universal screening for meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus: a cluster-randomized cross-over trial. J Hosp Infect, 95 (3), pp. 245-252. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is frequently endemic in healthcare settings and may be transmitted by person-to-person spread. Asymptomatic MRSA carriers are potential, unsuspected sources for transmission and some of them may be identified by admission screening. AIM: To assess whether rapid point-of-care screening (POCS) for MRSA at hospital admission may be associated with a reduction in MRSA acquisition rates when compared with slower laboratory-based methods. METHODS: A cluster-randomized cross-over trial was conducted in four admission wards of an acute London tertiary care hospital. Polymerase chain reaction-based POCS screening was compared with conventional culture screening. Patients were screened on ward admission and discharge, and the MRSA acquisition rate on the admission wards was calculated as the primary outcome measure. RESULTS: In all, 10,017 patients were included; 4978 in the control arm, 5039 in the POCS arm. The MRSA carriage rate on admission was 1.7%. POCS reduced the median reporting time from 40.4 to 3.7 h (P < 0.001). MRSA was acquired on the admission wards by 23 (0.46%) patients in the control arm and by 24 (0.48%) in the intervention arm, acquisition rates of 5.39 and 4.60 per 1000 days respectively. After taking account of predefined confounding factors, the adjusted incidence rate ratio (IRR) for change in trend for MRSA acquisition was 0.961 (95% confidence interval: 0.766-1.206). The adjusted IRR for step change for MRSA acquisition was 0.98 (0.304-3.162). CONCLUSION: POCS produces a significantly faster result but has no effect on MRSA acquisition on admission wards compared with culture screening. Where compliance with infection prevention and control is high and MRSA carriage is low, POCS has no additional impact on MRSA acquisition rates over the first one to four days of admission compared with conventional culture screening.

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