Transmission Blocking Activity of Low-dose Tafenoquine in Healthy Volunteers Experimentally Infected With Plasmodium falciparum

Published: June 22, 2022


Rebecca Webster, Hayley Mitchell, Jenny M Peters, Juanita Heunis, Brighid O’Neill, Jeremy Gower, Sean Lynch, Helen Jennings, Fiona H Amante, Stacey Llewellyn, Louise Marquart, Adam J Potter, Geoffrey W Birrell, Michael D Edstein, G Dennis Shanks, James S McCarthy, Bridget E Barber, Transmission Blocking Activity of Low-dose Tafenoquine in Healthy Volunteers Experimentally Infected With Plasmodium falciparumClinical Infectious Diseases, 2022;, ciac503,


Blocking the transmission of parasites from humans to mosquitoes is a key component of malaria control. Tafenoquine exhibits activity against all stages of the malaria parasite and may have utility as a transmission blocking agent. We aimed to characterize the transmission blocking activity of low-dose tafenoquine.
Healthy adults were inoculated with Plasmodium falciparum 3D7-infected erythrocytes on day 0. Piperaquine was administered on days 9 and 11 to clear asexual parasitemia while allowing gametocyte development. A single 50-mg oral dose of tafenoquine was administered on day 25. Transmission was determined by enriched membrane feeding assays predose and at 1, 4, and 7 days postdose. Artemether-lumefantrine was administered following the final assay. Outcomes were the reduction in mosquito infection and gametocytemia after tafenoquine and safety parameters.
Six participants were enrolled, and all were infective to mosquitoes before tafenoquine, with a median 86% (range, 22–98) of mosquitoes positive for oocysts and 57% (range, 4–92) positive for sporozoites. By day 4 after tafenoquine, the oocyst and sporozoite positivity rate had reduced by a median 35% (interquartile range [IQR]: 16–46) and 52% (IQR: 40–62), respectively, and by day 7, 81% (IQR 36–92) and 77% (IQR 52–98), respectively. The decline in gametocyte density after tafenoquine was not significant. No significant participant safety concerns were identified.
Low-dose tafenoquine (50 mg) reduces P. falciparum transmission to mosquitoes, with a delay in effect.

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