White NJ; AQUAMAT group: Artesunate versus quinine in the treatment of severe falciparum malaria in African children (AQUAMAT): an open-label, randomised trial

Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (MORU), Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand.
The Lancet (Impact Factor: 45.22). 11/2010; 376(9753):1647-57. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(10)61924-1
Source: PubMed


Severe malaria is a major cause of childhood death and often the main reason for paediatric hospital admission in sub-Saharan Africa. Quinine is still the established treatment of choice, although evidence from Asia suggests that artesunate is associated with a lower mortality. We compared parenteral treatment with either artesunate or quinine in African children with severe malaria.
This open-label, randomised trial was undertaken in 11 centres in nine African countries. Children (<15 years) with severe falciparum malaria were randomly assigned to parenteral artesunate or parenteral quinine. Randomisation was in blocks of 20, with study numbers corresponding to treatment allocations kept inside opaque sealed paper envelopes. The trial was open label at each site, and none of the investigators or trialists, apart from for the trial statistician, had access to the summaries of treatment allocations. The primary outcome measure was in-hospital mortality, analysed by intention to treat. This trial is registered, number ISRCTN50258054.
5425 children were enrolled; 2712 were assigned to artesunate and 2713 to quinine. All patients were analysed for the primary outcome. 230 (8·5%) patients assigned to artesunate treatment died compared with 297 (10·9%) assigned to quinine treatment (odds ratio [OR] stratified for study site 0·75, 95% CI 0·63-0·90; relative reduction 22·5%, 95% CI 8·1-36·9; p=0·0022). Incidence of neurological sequelae did not differ significantly between groups, but the development of coma (65/1832 [3·5%] with artesunate vs 91/1768 [5·1%] with quinine; OR 0·69 95% CI 0·49-0·95; p=0·0231), convulsions (224/2712 [8·3%] vs 273/2713 [10·1%]; OR 0·80, 0·66-0·97; p=0·0199), and deterioration of the coma score (166/2712 [6·1%] vs 208/2713 [7·7%]; OR 0·78, 0·64-0·97; p=0·0245) were all significantly less frequent in artesunate recipients than in quinine recipients. Post-treatment hypoglycaemia was also less frequent in patients assigned to artesunate than in those assigned to quinine (48/2712 [1·8%] vs 75/2713 [2·8%]; OR 0·63, 0·43-0·91; p=0·0134). Artesunate was well tolerated, with no serious drug-related adverse effects.
Artesunate substantially reduces mortality in African children with severe malaria. These data, together with a meta-analysis of all trials comparing artesunate and quinine, strongly suggest that parenteral artesunate should replace quinine as the treatment of choice for severe falciparum malaria worldwide.
The Wellcome Trust.

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Available from: Charles J Woodrow, Oct 04, 2015
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    • "The two major severe malaria syndromes are cerebral malaria (CM), which presents as coma and/or seizures, and severe malarial anaemia (SMA). Case fatality rates for CM and SMA are 18% and 10%, respectively, despite optimal anti-malarial treatment [3]. An improved understanding of pathogenesis is required to develop adjunctive therapies, as well as prognostic tools to guide triage and appropriate allocation of limited health care resources. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Severe and fatal malaria are associated with dysregulated host inflammatory responses to infection. Chitinase 3-like 1 (CHI3L1) is a secreted glycoprotein implicated in regulating immune responses. Expression and function of CHI3L1 in malaria infection were investigated. Methods Plasma levels of CHI3L1 were quantified in a case–control study of Ugandan children presenting with Plasmodium falciparum malaria. CHI3L1 levels were compared in children with uncomplicated malaria (UM; n = 53), severe malarial anaemia (SMA; n = 59) and cerebral malaria (CM; n = 44) using the Kruskall Wallis-test, and evaluated for utility in predicting fatal (n = 23) versus non-fatal (n = 80) outcomes in severe disease using the Mann Whitney U test, receiver operating characteristic curves, and combinatorial analysis. Co-culture of P. falciparum with human peripheral blood mononuclear cells and the Plasmodium berghei ANKA experimental model of cerebral malaria were used to examine the role of CHI3L1 in severe malaria. Results In children presenting with falciparum malaria, CHI3L1 levels were increased in SMA and CM versus UM (p < 0.001). Among severe malaria cases, CHI3L1 levels at presentation predicted subsequent death (area under receiver operating characteristic curve 0.84 [95% CI 0.76-0.92]) and in combination with other host biomarkers, predicted mortality with high sensitivity (100% [85.7-100]) and specificity (81.3% [71.3-88.3]). Plasmodium falciparum stimulated CHI3L1 production by human peripheral blood mononuclear cells in vitro. CHI3L1 was increased in plasma and brain tissue in experimental cerebral malaria, but targeted Chi3l1 deletion did not alter cytokine production or survival in this model. Conclusions These data suggest that plasma CHI3L1 measured at presentation correlates with malaria severity and predicts outcome in paediatric SMA and CM, but do not support a causal role for CHI3L1 in cerebral malaria pathobiology in the model tested.
    Malaria Journal 07/2014; 13(1):279. DOI:10.1186/1475-2875-13-279 · 3.11 Impact Factor
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    • "There is increasing evidence supporting efficacy, safety and tolerability of ACT, which outweigh the advantages of quinine in treating malaria [15,16]. Despite its reactogenicity profile and several reports of resistant strains of P falciparum[17,18], quinine remains the only recommended drug for treating both uncomplicated and complicated P falciparum malaria during first trimester of pregnancy [5,11]. "
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    ABSTRACT: There is limited data available regarding safety profile of artemisinins in early pregnancy. They are, therefore, not recommended by WHO as a first-line treatment for malaria in first trimester due to associated embryo-foetal toxicity in animal studies. The study assessed birth outcome among pregnant women inadvertently exposed to artemether-lumefantrine (AL) during first trimester in comparison to those of women exposed to other anti-malarial drugs or no drug at all during the same period of pregnancy. Pregnant women with gestational age <20 weeks were recruited from Maternal Health clinics or from monthly house visits (demographic surveillance), and followed prospectively until delivery. 2167 pregnant women were recruited and 1783 (82.3%) completed the study until delivery. 319 (17.9%) used anti-malarials in first trimester, of whom 172 (53.9%) used (AL), 78 (24.4%) quinine, 66 (20.7%) sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) and 11 (3.4%) amodiaquine. Quinine exposure in first trimester was associated with an increased risk of miscarriage/stillbirth (OR 2.5; 1.3–5.1) and premature birth (OR 2.6; 1.3–5.3) as opposed to AL with (OR 1.4; 0.8–2.5) for miscarriage/stillbirth and (OR 0.9; 0.5–1.8) for preterm birth. Congenital anomalies were identified in 4 exposure groups namely AL only (1/164[0.6%]), quinine only (1/70[1.4%]), SP (2/66[3.0%]), and non-anti-malarial exposure group (19/1464[1.3%]). Exposure to AL in first trimester was more common than to any other anti-malarial drugs. Quinine exposure was associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes which was not the case following other anti-malarial intake. Since AL and quinine were used according to their availability rather than to disease severity, it is likely that the effect observed was related to the drug and not to the disease itself. Even with this caveat, a change of policy from quinine to AL for the treatment of uncomplicated malaria during the whole pregnancy period could be already envisaged.
    Malaria Journal 05/2014; 13(1):197. DOI:10.1186/1475-2875-13-197 · 3.11 Impact Factor
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    • "The role of artemisinin compounds in such potential oxidant acute haemolysis remains poorly understood [14]. Parenteral artesunate was associated with low, but comparable, rates of BWF compared to quinine in a large trial of paediatric patients with severe malaria (0.7% versus 1.2% respectively) [6]. Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DHA-PIP) is a combination of a potent, rapid acting artemisinin derivative, combined with a long-acting 4-aminoquinoline (bis-quinoline), similar to chloroquine. "
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    ABSTRACT: The mechanism of massive intravascular haemolysis occurring during the treatment of malaria infection resulting in haemoglobinuria, commonly known as blackwater fever (BWF), remains unknown. BWF is most often seen in those with severe malaria treated with amino-alcohol drugs, including quinine, mefloquine and halofantrine. The potential for drugs containing artemisinins, chloroquine or piperaquine to cause oxidant haemolysis is believed to be much lower, particularly during treatment of uncomplicated malaria. Here is an unusual case of BWF, which developed on day 2 of treatment for uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum infection with dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DHA-PIP) with documented evidence of concomitant seropositivity for Chikungunya infection.
    Malaria Journal 03/2014; 13(1):96. DOI:10.1186/1475-2875-13-96 · 3.11 Impact Factor
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