Characterizing the blood stage antimalarial activity of tafenoquine in healthy volunteers experimentally infected with Plasmodium falciparum
The long acting 8-aminoquinoline tafenoquine may be a good candidate for mass drug administration if it exhibits sufficient blood stage antimalarial activity at doses low enough to be tolerated by glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficient individuals.
Healthy G6PD-normal adults were inoculated with Plasmodium falciparum 3D7-infected erythrocytes on day 0. Different single oral doses of tafenoquine were administered on day 8. Parasitemia, and concentrations of tafenoquine and the 5,6-orthoquinone metabolite in plasma/whole blood/urine were measured and standard safety assessments performed. Curative artemether-lumefantrine therapy was administered if parasite regrowth occurred, or on day 48±2. Outcomes were parasite clearance kinetics, pharmacokinetic and pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) parameters from modelling, and dose simulations in a theoretical endemic population.
Twelve participants were inoculated and administered 200 mg (n=3), 300 mg (n=4), 400 mg (n=2), or 600 mg (n=3) tafenoquine. The parasite clearance half-life with 400 mg or 600 mg (5.4 h and 4.2 h respectively) was faster than with 200 mg or 300 mg (11.8 h and 9.6 h respectively). Parasite regrowth occurred after dosing with 200 mg (3/3 participants) and 300 mg (3/4 participants), but not after 400 mg or 600 mg. Simulations using the PK/PD model predicted that 460 mg and 540 mg would clear parasitaemia by a factor of 106 and 109, respectively, in a 60 kg adult.
Although a single dose of tafenoquine exhibits potent P. falciparum blood stage antimalarial activity, the estimated doses to effectively clear asexual parasitemia will require prior screening to exclude G6PD deficiency.
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