[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Intermittent preventive treatment during pregnancy with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (IPTp-SP) is a key strategy in the control of pregnancy-associated malaria. However, this strategy is compromised by widespread drug resistance from single-nucleotide polymorphisms in the Plasmodium falciparum dihydrofolate reductase and dihydropteroate synthetase genes. During September 2008-October 2010, we monitored a cohort of 924 pregnant women in an area of Tanzania with declining malaria transmission. P. falciparum parasites were genotyped, and the effect of infecting haplotypes on birthweight was assessed. Of the genotyped parasites, 9.3%, 46.3%, and 44.4% had quadruple or less, quintuple, and sextuple mutated haplotypes, respectively. Mutant haplotypes were unrelated to SP doses. Compared with infections with the less-mutated haplotypes, infections with the sextuple haplotype mutation were associated with lower (359 g) birthweights. Continued use of the suboptimal IPTp-SP regimen should be reevaluated, and alternative strategies (e.g., intermittent screening and treatment or intermittent treatment with safe and effective alternative drugs) should be evaluated.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sequestration of Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes in host blood vessels is a key triggering event in the pathogenesis of severe childhood malaria, which is responsible for about one million deaths every year. Sequestration is mediated by specific interactions between members of the P. falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1 (PfEMP1) family and receptors on the endothelial lining. Severe childhood malaria is associated with expression of specific PfEMP1 subtypes containing domain cassettes (DCs) 8 and 13 (ref. 3), but the endothelial receptor for parasites expressing these proteins was unknown. Here we identify endothelial protein C receptor (EPCR), which mediates the cytoprotective effects of activated protein C, as the endothelial receptor for DC8 and DC13 PfEMP1. We show that EPCR binding is mediated through the amino-terminal cysteine-rich interdomain region (CIDRα1) of DC8 and group A PfEMP1 subfamilies, and that CIDRα1 interferes with protein C binding to EPCR. This PfEMP1 adhesive property links P. falciparum cytoadhesion to a host receptor involved in anticoagulation and endothelial cytoprotective pathways, and has implications for understanding malaria pathology and the development of new malaria interventions.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Studies conducted thus far have demonstrated that the malaria vaccine (RTS,S) has a promising safety profile. Within the context of planning for future vaccine trials and for the purpose of building on previous research that has been undertaken in sub-Saharan Africa with regard to community perceptions about clinical studies, this research aimed to explore the community perceptions on the secondary health benefits established by the malaria vaccine trials (RTS,S Phase 2 and Phase 3) at the Korogwe site in Tanzania. METHODS: An exploratory qualitative study design was used. Participants were recruited from the Korogwe site. Sampling techniques were purposive and random. A total of five focus group discussions and six in-depth interviews were conducted. Interview guides with open-ended questions were employed to collect data. Male and female parents whose infants participated and those whose infants did not participate in the trials, health workers and community leaders were interviewed. Thematic analysis framework was used to analyse the data. RESULTS: The activities of a malaria vaccine project appeared to be well known to the community. Respondents had largely positive views towards the secondary health benefits which have been established by malaria vaccine trials. The project has led to a massive investment in health care infrastructure and an improvement in health care services across the study areas. The project was perceived by the community to have established major secondary health benefits. Misconceptions amongst respondents, especially with regard to blood samples, were also observed in this study. CONCLUSION: Despite some misconceptions with regard to the conduct of malaria vaccine trials, especially on blood sampling, generally this study observed that most participants were positive about the secondary health benefits brought about by the malaria vaccine trials in Korogwe.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pregnancy associated malaria is associated with decreased birth weight, but in-utero evaluation of fetal growth alterations is rarely performed. The objective of this study was to investigate malaria induced changes in fetal growth during the 3(rd) trimester using trans-abdominal ultrasound.
An observational study of 876 pregnant women (398 primi- and secundigravidae and 478 multigravidae) was conducted in Tanzania. Fetal growth was monitored with ultrasound and screening for malaria was performed regularly. Birth weight and fetal weight were converted to z-scores, and fetal growth evaluated as fetal weight gain from the 26th week of pregnancy.
Malaria infection only affected birth weight and fetal growth among primi- and secundigravid women. Forty-eight of the 398 primi- and secundigravid women had malaria during pregnancy causing a reduction in the newborns z-score of -0.50 (95% CI: -0.86, -0.13, P = 0.008, multiple linear regression). Fifty-eight percent (28/48) of the primi- and secundigravidae had malaria in the first half of pregnancy, but an effect on fetal growth was observed in the 3(rd) trimester with an OR of 4.89 for the fetal growth rate belonging to the lowest 25% in the population (95%CI: 2.03-11.79, P<0.001, multiple logistic regression). At an individual level, among the primi- and secundigravidae, 27% experienced alterations of fetal growth immediately after exposure but only for a short interval, 27% only late in pregnancy, 16.2% persistently from exposure until the end of pregnancy, and 29.7% had no alterations of fetal growth.
The effect of malaria infections was observed during the 3(rd) trimester, despite infections occurring much earlier in pregnancy, and different mechanisms might operate leading to different patterns of growth alterations. This study highlights the need for protection against malaria throughout pregnancy and the recognition that observed changes in fetal growth might be a consequence of an infection much earlier in pregnancy.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(1):e53794. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Members of the Plasmodium falciparum Erythrocyte Membrane protein 1 (PfEMP1) family expressed on the surface of malaria-infected erythrocytes mediate binding of the parasite to different receptors on the vascular lining. This process drives pathologies, and severe childhood malaria has been associated with the expression of particular subsets of PfEMP1 molecules. PfEMP1 are grouped into subtypes based on upstream sequences and the presence of semi-conserved PfEMP1 domain compositions named domain cassettes (DCs). Earlier studies have indicated that DC5-containing PfEMP1 (DC5-PfEMP1) are more likely to be expressed in children with severe malaria disease than in children with uncomplicated malaria, but these PfEMP1 subtypes only dominate in a relatively small proportion of the children with severe disease. In this study, we have characterised the genomic sequence characteristic for DC5, and show that two genetically different parasite lines expressing DC5-PfEMP1 bind PECAM1, and that anti-DC5-specific antibodies inhibit binding of DC5-PfEMP1-expressing parasites to transformed human bone marrow endothelial cells (TrHBMEC). We also show that antibodies against each of the four domains characteristic for DC5 react with native PfEMP1 expressed on the surface of infected erythrocytes, and that some of these antibodies are cross-reactive between the two DC5-containing PfEMP1 molecules tested. Finally, we confirm that anti-DC5 antibodies are acquired early in life by individuals living in malaria endemic areas, that individuals having high levels of these antibodies are less likely to develop febrile malaria episodes and that the antibody levels correlate positively with hemoglobin levels.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(7):e69117. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The ability of Plasmodium falciparum to undergo antigenic variation, by switching expression among protein variants encoded by multigene families, such as var, rif and stevor, is key to the survival of this parasite in the human host. The RIFIN protein family can be divided into A and B types based on the presence or absence of a 25 amino acid motif in the semi-conserved domain. A particular type B RIFIN, PF13_0006, has previously been shown to be strongly transcribed in the asexual and sexual stages of P. falciparum in vitro. METHODS: Antibodies to recombinant PF13_0006 RIFIN were used in immunofluorescence and confocal imaging of 3D7 parasites throughout the asexual reproduction and sexual development to examine the expression of PF13_0006. Furthermore, reactivity to recombinant PF13_0006 was measured in plasma samples collected from individuals from both East and West African endemic areas. RESULTS: The PF13_0006 RIFIN variant appeared expressed by both released merozoites and gametes after emergence. 7.4% and 12.1% of individuals from East and West African endemic areas, respectively, carry plasma antibodies that recognize recombinant PF13_0006, where the antibody responses were more common among older children. CONCLUSIONS: The stage specificity of PF13_0006 suggests that the diversity of RIFIN variants has evolved to provide multiple specialized functions in different stages of the parasite life cycle. These data also suggest that RIFIN variants antigenically similar to PF13_0006 occur in African parasite populations.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Low birth weight and prematurity are amongst the strongest predictors of neonatal death. However, the extent to which they act independently is poorly understood. Our objective was to estimate the neonatal mortality risk associated with preterm birth when stratified by weight for gestational age in the high mortality setting of East Africa.
Members and collaborators of the Malaria and the MARCH Centers, at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, were contacted and protocols reviewed for East African studies that measured (1) birth weight, (2) gestational age at birth using antenatal ultrasound or neonatal assessment, and (3) neonatal mortality. Ten datasets were identified and four met the inclusion criteria. The four datasets (from Uganda, Kenya, and two from Tanzania) contained 5,727 births recorded between 1999-2010. 4,843 births had complete outcome data and were included in an individual participant level meta-analysis. 99% of 445 low birth weight (< 2,500 g) babies were either preterm (< 37 weeks gestation) or small for gestational age (below tenth percentile of weight for gestational age). 52% of 87 neonatal deaths occurred in preterm or small for gestational age babies. Babies born < 34 weeks gestation had the highest odds of death compared to term babies (odds ratio [OR] 58.7 [95% CI 28.4-121.4]), with little difference when stratified by weight for gestational age. Babies born 34-36 weeks gestation with appropriate weight for gestational age had just three times the likelihood of neonatal death compared to babies born term, (OR 3.2 [95% CI 1.0-10.7]), but the likelihood for babies born 34-36 weeks who were also small for gestational age was 20 times higher (OR 19.8 [95% CI 8.3-47.4]). Only 1% of babies were born moderately premature and small for gestational age, but this group suffered 8% of deaths. Individual level data on newborns are scarce in East Africa; potential biases arising due to the non-systematic selection of the individual studies, or due to the methods applied for estimating gestational age, are discussed.
Moderately preterm babies who are also small for gestational age experience a considerably increased likelihood of neonatal death in East Africa.
PLoS Medicine 08/2012; 9(8):e1001292. · 15.25 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To identify factors associated with perinatal mortality in northeastern Tanzania.
Prospective cohort study.
Northeastern Tanzania. Population. 872 mothers and their newborns.
Pregnant women were screened for factors possibly associated with perinatal mortality, including preeclampsia, small-for-gestational age, preterm delivery, anemia, and health-seeking behavior. Fetal growth was monitored using ultrasound. Finally, the specific causes of the perinatal deaths were evaluated.
Forty-six deaths occurred. Key factors associated with perinatal mortality were preterm delivery (adjusted odds ratio (OR) 14.47, 95% confidence interval (CI) 3.23-64.86, p < 0.001), small-for-gestational age (adjusted OR 3.54, 95%CI 1.18-10.61, p = 0.02), and maternal anemia (adjusted OR 10.34, 95%CI 1.89-56.52, p = 0.007). Adherence to the antenatal care program (adjusted OR 0.027, 95%CI 0.003-0.26, p = 0.002) protected against perinatal mortality. The cause of death in 43% of cases was attributed to complications related to labor and specifically to intrapartum asphyxia (30%) and neonatal infection (13%). Among the remaining deaths, 27% (7/26) were attributed to preeclampsia and 23% (6/26) to small-for-gestational age. Of these, 54% (14/26) were preterm.
Preeclampsia, small-for-gestational age and preterm delivery were key risk factors and causes of perinatal mortality in this area of Tanzania. Maternal anemia was also strongly associated with perinatal mortality. Furthermore, asphyxia accounted for a large proportion of the perinatal deaths. Interventions should target the prevention and handling of these conditions in order to reduce perinatal mortality.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The clinical outcome of Plasmodium falciparum infections ranges from asymptomatic parasitemia to severe malaria syndromes associated with high mortality. The virulence of P. falciparum infections is associated with the type of P. falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1 (PfEMP1) expressed on the surface of infected erythrocytes to anchor these to the vascular lining. Although var2csa, the var gene encoding the PfEMP1 associated with placental malaria, was discovered in 2003, the identification of the var/PfEMP1 variants associated with severe malaria in children has remained elusive. To identify var/PfEMP1 variants associated with severe disease outcome, we compared var transcript levels in parasites from 88 children with severe malaria and 40 children admitted to the hospital with uncomplicated malaria. Transcript analysis was performed by RT-quantitative PCR using a set of 42 primer pairs amplifying var subtype-specific loci covering most var/PfEMP1 subtypes. In addition, we characterized the near-full-length sequence of the most prominently expressed var genes in three patients diagnosed with severe anemia and/or cerebral malaria. The combined analysis showed that severe malaria syndromes, including severe anemia and cerebral malaria, are associated with high transcript levels of PfEMP1 domain cassette 8-encoding var genes. Transcript levels of group A var genes, including genes encoding domain cassette 13, were also significantly higher in patients with severe syndromes compared with those with uncomplicated malaria. This study specifies the var/PfEMP1 types expressed in severe malaria in children, and thereby provides unique targets for future efforts to prevent and treat severe malaria infections.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 05/2012; 109(26):E1791-800. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Members of the Plasmodium falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1 (PfEMP1) adhesion antigen family are major contributors to the pathogenesis of P. falciparum malaria infections. The PfEMP1-encoding var genes are among the most diverse sequences in nature, but three genes, var1, var2csa and var3 are found conserved in most parasite genomes. The most severe forms of malaria disease are caused by parasites expressing a subset of antigenically conserved PfEMP1 variants. Thus the ubiquitous and conserved VAR3 PfEMP1 is of particular interest to the research field. Evidence of VAR3 expression on the infected erythrocyte surface has never been presented, and var3 genes have been proposed to be transcribed and expressed differently from the rest of the var gene family members.
In this study, parasites expressing VAR3 PfEMP1 were generated using anti-VAR3 antibodies and the var transcript and PfEMP1 expression profiles of the generated parasites were investigated. The IgG reactivity by plasma from children living in malaria-endemic Tanzania was tested to parasites and recombinant VAR3 protein. Parasites from hospitalized children were isolated and the transcript level of var3 was investigated.
Var3 is transcribed and its protein product expressed on the surface of infected erythrocytes. The VAR3-expressing parasites were better recognized by children´s IgG than a parasite line expressing a Group B var gene. Two in 130 children showed increased recognition of parasites expressing VAR3 and to the recombinant VAR3 protein after a malaria episode and the isolated parasites showed high levels of var3 transcripts.
Collectively, the presented data suggest that var3 is transcribed and its protein product expressed on the surface of infected erythrocytes in the same manner as seen for other var genes both in vitro and in vivo. Only very few children exhibit seroconversion to VAR3 following a malaria episode requiring hospitalization, supporting the previous conclusion drawn from var3 transcript analysis of parasites collected from children hospitalized with malaria, that VAR3 is not associated with severe anaemia or cerebral malaria syndromes in children.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: RTS,S/AS01, a vaccine targeting pre-erythrocytic stages of Plasmodium falciparum, is undergoing clinical trials. We report an analysis of cellular immune response to component Ags of RTS,S-hepatitis B surface Ag (HBs) and P. falciparum circumsporozoite (CS) protein-among Tanzanian children in a phase IIb RTS,S/AS01(E) trial. RTS,S/AS01 (E) vaccinees make stronger T cell IFN-γ, CD69, and CD25 responses to HBs peptides than do controls, indicating that RTS,S boosts pre-existing HBs responses. T cell CD69 and CD25 responses to CS and CS-specific secreted IL-2 were augmented by RTS,S vaccination. Importantly, more than 50% of peptide-induced IFN-γ(+) lymphocytes were NK cells, and the magnitude of the NK cell CD69 response to HBs peptides correlated with secreted IL-2 concentration. CD69 and CD25 expression and IL-2 secretion may represent sensitive markers of RTS,S-induced, CS-specific T cells. The potential for T cell-derived IL-2 to augment NK cell activation in RTS,S-vaccinated individuals, and the relevance of this for protection, needs to be explored further.
The Journal of Immunology 04/2012; 188(10):5054-62. · 5.52 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Community sensitisation, as a component of community engagement, plays an important role in strengthening the ethics of community-based trials in developing countries and is fundamental to trial success. However, few researchers have shared their community sensitisation strategies and experiences. We report on our perspective as researchers on the sensitisation activities undertaken for a phase II malaria vaccine trial in Kilifi District (Kenya) and Korogwe District (Tanzania), with the aim of informing and guiding the operational planning of future trials. We report wide variability in recruitment rates within both sites; a variability that occurred against a backdrop of similarity in overall approaches to sensitisation across the two sites but significant differences in community exposure to biomedical research. We present a range of potential factors contributing to these differences in recruitment rates, which we believe are worth considering in future community sensitisation plans. We conclude by arguing for carefully designed social science research around the implementation and impact of community sensitisation activities.
International Health 03/2012; 4(1):47-54. · 1.01 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sequestration of Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes in placental intervillous spaces causes inflammation and pathology. Knowledge of the profiles of immune cells associated with the physiopathology of pregnancy-associated malaria (PAM) is scarce. We conducted a longitudinal, prospective study, both in Benin and Tanzania, including ∼1000 pregnant women in each site with systematic follow-up at scheduled antenatal visits until delivery. We used ex vivo flow cytometry to identify peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) profiles that are associated with PAM and anaemia, determining the phenotypic composition and activation status of PBMC in selected sub-groups with and without PAM both at inclusion and at delivery in a total of 302 women. Both at inclusion and at delivery PAM was associated with significantly increased frequencies both of B cells overall and of activated B cells. Infection-related profiles were otherwise quite distinct at the two different time-points. At inclusion, PAM was associated with anaemia, with an increased frequency of immature monocytes and with a decreased frequency of regulatory T cells (Treg). At delivery, infected women presented with significantly fewer plasmacytoid dendritic cells (DC), more myeloid DC expressing low levels of HLA-DR, and more effector T cells (Teff) compared to uninfected women. Independent associations with an increased risk of anaemia were found for altered antigen-presenting cell frequencies at inclusion, but for an increased frequency of Teff at delivery. Our findings emphasize the prominent role played by B cells during PAM whenever it arises during pregnancy, whilst also revealing signature changes in other circulating cell types that, we conclude, primarily reflect the relative duration of the infections. Thus, the acute, recently-acquired infections present at delivery were marked by changes in DC and Teff frequencies, contrasting with infections at inclusion, considered chronic in nature, that were characterized by an abundance of immature monocytes and a paucity of Treg in PBMC.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(12):e49621. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Malaria during pregnancy in Plasmodium falciparum endemic regions is a major cause of mortality and severe morbidity. VAR2CSA is the parasite ligand responsible for sequestration of Plasmodium falciparum infected erythrocytes to the receptor chondroitin sulfate A (CSA) in the placenta and is the leading candidate for a placental malaria vaccine. Antibodies induced in rats against the recombinant DBL4ε domain of VAR2CSA inhibit the binding of a number of laboratory and field parasite isolates to CSA. In this study, we used a DBL4ε peptide-array to identify epitopes targeted by DBL4ε-specific antibodies that inhibit CSA-binding of infected erythrocytes. We identified three regions of overlapping peptides which were highly antigenic. One peptide region distinguished itself particularly by showing a clear difference in the binding profile of highly parasite blocking IgG compared to the IgG with low capacity to inhibit parasite adhesion to CSA. This region was further characterized and together these results suggest that even though antibodies against the synthetic peptides which cover this region did not recognize native protein, the results using the mutant domain suggest that this linear epitope might be involved in the induction of inhibitory antibodies induced by the recombinant DBL4ε domain.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(9):e43663. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To produce a fetal weight chart representative of a Tanzanian population, and compare it to weight charts from Sub-Saharan Africa and the developed world.
A longitudinal observational study in Northeastern Tanzania. Pregnant women were followed throughout pregnancy with serial trans-abdominal ultrasound. All pregnancies with pathology were excluded and a chart representing the optimal growth potential was developed using fetal weights and birth weights. The weight chart was compared to a chart from Congo, a chart representing a white population, and a chart representing a white population but adapted to the study population. The prevalence of SGA was assessed using all four charts.
A total of 2193 weight measurements from 583 fetuses/newborns were included in the fetal weight chart. Our chart had lower percentiles than all the other charts. Most importantly, in the end of pregnancy, the 10(th) percentiles deviated substantially causing an overestimation of the true prevalence of SGA newborns if our chart had not been used.
We developed a weight chart representative for a Tanzanian population and provide evidence for the necessity of developing regional specific weight charts for correct identification of SGA. Our weight chart is an important tool that can be used for clinical risk assessments of newborns and for evaluating the effect of intrauterine exposures on fetal and newborn weight.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(9):e44773. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In pregnant women, Plasmodium falciparum infections are an important cause of maternal morbidity as well as fetal and neonatal mortality. Erythrocytes infected by these malaria-causing parasites accumulate through adhesive interactions in placental intervillous spaces, thus evading detection in peripheral blood smears. Sequestered infected erythrocytes induce inflammation, offering the possibility of detecting inflammatory mediators in peripheral blood that could act as biomarkers of placental infection. In a longitudinal, prospective study in Tanzania, we quantified a range of different cytokines, chemokines and angiogenic factors in peripheral plasma samples, taken on multiple sequential occasions during pregnancy up to and including delivery, from P. falciparum-infected women and matched uninfected controls. The results show that during healthy, uninfected pregnancies the levels of most of the panel of molecules we measured were largely unchanged except at delivery. In women with P. falciparum, however, both comparative and longitudinal assessments consistently showed that the levels of IL-10 and IP-10 increased significantly whilst that of RANTES decreased significantly, regardless of gestational age at the time the infection was detected. ROC curve analysis indicated that a combination of increased IL-10 and IP-10 levels and decreased RANTES levels might be predictive of P. falciparum infections. In conclusion, our data suggest that host biomarkers in peripheral blood may represent useful diagnostic markers of P. falciparum infection during pregnancy, but placental histology results would need to be included to verify these findings.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(11):e48763. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tanzania implemented artemether-lumefantrine (AL) as the first-line treatment for uncomplicated malaria in November of 2006 because of resistance to sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine. AL remains highly efficacious, but widespread use may soon facilitate emergence of artemisinin tolerance/resistance, which initially may be detected at the molecular level as temporal changes in the frequency of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the Pfmdr-1 gene associated with AL resistance. In Tanzania, 830 Plasmodium falciparum-positive samples collected between 2003 and 2010 were examined for SNPs of Pfmdr-1 at codons 86, 184, and 1246. Both the N86 and 184F increased from 2006 to 2010 (logistic regression; N86: odds ratio [95% confidence interval] = 1.35 [1.07-1.71], P = 0.01; 184F: odds ratio = 1.42 [1.07-1.88], P = 0.02), and no change was found for D1246 (odds ratio = 1.01 [0.80-1.28], P = 0.9). The observed changes may be because of introduction of AL, and if so, this finding gives cause for concern and argues for continued surveillance of these molecular markers.
The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene 12/2011; 85(6):979-83. · 2.53 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An ongoing phase 3 study of the efficacy, safety, and immunogenicity of candidate malaria vaccine RTS,S/AS01 is being conducted in seven African countries.
From March 2009 through January 2011, we enrolled 15,460 children in two age categories--6 to 12 weeks of age and 5 to 17 months of age--for vaccination with either RTS,S/AS01 or a non-malaria comparator vaccine. The primary end point of the analysis was vaccine efficacy against clinical malaria during the 12 months after vaccination in the first 6000 children 5 to 17 months of age at enrollment who received all three doses of vaccine according to protocol. After 250 children had an episode of severe malaria, we evaluated vaccine efficacy against severe malaria in both age categories.
In the 14 months after the first dose of vaccine, the incidence of first episodes of clinical malaria in the first 6000 children in the older age category was 0.32 episodes per person-year in the RTS,S/AS01 group and 0.55 episodes per person-year in the control group, for an efficacy of 50.4% (95% confidence interval [CI], 45.8 to 54.6) in the intention-to-treat population and 55.8% (97.5% CI, 50.6 to 60.4) in the per-protocol population. Vaccine efficacy against severe malaria was 45.1% (95% CI, 23.8 to 60.5) in the intention-to-treat population and 47.3% (95% CI, 22.4 to 64.2) in the per-protocol population. Vaccine efficacy against severe malaria in the combined age categories was 34.8% (95% CI, 16.2 to 49.2) in the per-protocol population during an average follow-up of 11 months. Serious adverse events occurred with a similar frequency in the two study groups. Among children in the older age category, the rate of generalized convulsive seizures after RTS,S/AS01 vaccination was 1.04 per 1000 doses (95% CI, 0.62 to 1.64).
The RTS,S/AS01 vaccine provided protection against both clinical and severe malaria in African children. (Funded by GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals and the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative; RTS,S ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00866619 .).
New England Journal of Medicine 11/2011; 365(20):1863-75. · 51.66 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: RTS,S/AS01(E) is the lead candidate malaria vaccine and confers pre-erythrocytic immunity. Vaccination may therefore impact acquired immunity to blood-stage malaria parasites after natural infection.
We measured, by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, antibodies to 4 Plasmodium falciparum merozoite antigens (AMA-1, MSP-1(42), EBA-175, and MSP-3) and by growth inhibitory activity (GIA) using 2 parasite clones (FV0 and 3D7) at 4 times on 860 children who were randomized to receive with RTS,S/AS01(E) or a control vaccine.
Antibody concentrations to AMA-1, EBA-175, and MSP-1(42) decreased with age during the first year of life, then increased to 32 months of age. Anti-MSP-3 antibody concentrations gradually increased, and GIA gradually decreased up to 32 months. Vaccination with RTS,S/AS01(E) resulted in modest reductions in AMA-1, EBA-175, MSP-1(42), and MSP-3 antibody concentrations and no significant change in GIA. Increasing anti-merozoite antibody concentrations and GIA were prospectively associated with increased risk of clinical malaria.
Vaccination with RTS,S/AS01E reduces exposure to blood-stage parasites and, thus, reduces anti-merozoite antigen antibody concentrations. However, in this study, these antibodies were not correlates of clinical immunity to malaria. Instead, heterogeneous exposure led to confounded, positive associations between increasing antibody concentration and increasing risk of clinical malaria.
The Journal of Infectious Diseases 07/2011; 204(1):9-18. · 5.85 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite some problems related to accuracy and applicability of malaria rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs), they are currently the best option in areas with limited laboratory services for improving case management through parasitological diagnosis and reducing over-treatment. This study was conducted in areas with declining malaria burden to assess; 1) the accuracy of RDTs when used at different community settings, 2) the impact of using RDTs on anti-malarial dispensing by community-owned resource persons (CORPs) and 3) adherence of CORPs to treatment guidelines by providing treatment based on RDT results.
Data were obtained from: 1) a longitudinal study of passive case detection of fevers using CORPs in six villages in Korogwe; and 2) cross-sectional surveys (CSS) in six villages of Korogwe and Muheza districts, north-eastern, Tanzania. Performance of RDTs was compared with microscopy as a gold standard, and factors affecting their accuracy were explored using a multivariate logistic regression model.
Overall sensitivity and specificity of RDTs in the longitudinal study (of 23,793 febrile cases; 18,154 with microscopy and RDTs results) were 88.6% and 88.2%, respectively. In the CSS, the sensitivity was significantly lower (63.4%; χ2=367.7, p<0.001), while the specificity was significantly higher (94.3%; χ2=143.1, p<0.001) when compared to the longitudinal study. As determinants of sensitivity of RDTs in both studies, parasite density of<200 asexual parasites/μl was significantly associated with high risk of false negative RDTs (OR≥16.60, p<0.001), while the risk of false negative test was significantly lower among cases with fever (axillary temperature ≥37.5 °C) (OR≤0.63, p≤0.027). The risk of false positive RDT (as a determinant of specificity) was significantly higher in cases with fever compared to afebrile cases (OR≥2.40, p<0.001). Using RDTs reduced anti-malarials dispensing from 98.9% to 32.1% in cases aged ≥5 years.
Although RDTs had low sensitivity and specificity, which varied widely depending on fever and parasite density, using RDTs reduced over-treatment with anti-malarials significantly. Thus, with declining malaria prevalence, RDTs will potentially identify majority of febrile cases with parasites and lead to improved management of malaria and non-malaria fevers.