Published: March 27, 2012
Senn N, Rarau P, Stanisic DI, Robinson L, Barnadas C, Manong D, Salib M, Iga J, Tarongka N, Ley S, Rosanas-Urgell A, Aponte JJ, Zimmerman PA, Beeson JG, Schofield L, Siba P, Rogerson SJ, Reeder JC, Mueller I. Intermittent preventive treatment for malaria in Papua New Guinean infants exposed to Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax: a randomized controlled trial. PLoS Med., 2012; 9(3):e1001195. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001195. Epub 2012 Mar 27. Erratum in: PLoS Med. 2012 Jun;9(6). doi:10.1371/annotation/de06fdd3-c263-416c-8b5f-291f9c474558. PubMed PMID: 22479155; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3313928.
Intermittent preventive treatment in infants (IPTi) has been shown in randomized trials to reduce malaria-related morbidity in African infants living in areas of high Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) transmission. It remains unclear whether IPTi is an appropriate prevention strategy in non-African settings or those co-endemic for P. vivax (Pv).
In this study, 1,121 Papua New Guinean infants were enrolled into a three-arm placebo-controlled randomized trial and assigned to sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) (25 mg/kg and 1.25 mg/kg) plus amodiaquine (AQ) (10 mg/kg, 3 d, n = 374), SP plus artesunate (AS) (4 mg/kg, 3 d, n = 374), or placebo (n = 373), given at 3, 6, 9 and 12 mo. Both participants and study teams were blinded to treatment allocation. The primary end point was protective efficacy (PE) against all episodes of clinical malaria from 3 to 15 mo of age. Analysis was by modified intention to treat. The PE (compared to placebo) against clinical malaria episodes (caused by all species) was 29% (95% CI, 10–43, p≤0.001) in children receiving SP-AQ and 12% (95% CI, −11 to 30, p = 0.12) in those receiving SP-AS. Efficacy was higher against Pf than Pv. In the SP-AQ group, Pf incidence was 35% (95% CI, 9–54, p = 0.012) and Pv incidence was 23% (95% CI, 0–41, p = 0.048) lower than in the placebo group. IPTi with SP-AS protected only against Pf episodes (PE = 31%, 95% CI, 4–51, p = 0.027), not against Pv episodes (PE = 6%, 95% CI, −24 to 26, p = 0.759). Number of observed adverse events/serious adverse events did not differ between treatment arms (p>0.55). None of the serious adverse events were thought to be treatment-related, and the vomiting rate was low in both treatment groups (1.4%–2.0%). No rebound in malaria morbidity was observed for 6 mo following the intervention.
IPTi using a long half-life drug combination is efficacious for the prevention of malaria and anemia in infants living in a region highly endemic for both Pf and Pv.