MMV’s film on real-world tafenoquine study wins advocacy award at the 7th annual ISNTD festival

MMV’s film on real-world tafenoquine study wins advocacy award at the 7th annual ISNTD festival

ISNTD’s annual festival brings together communication, arts, entertainment and science to help ensure important public health messages reach patients, the public and global health professionals

Two health agents from the back standing in front of a house with grass and trees around them

Two agents from the Manaus Municipal Health Secretariat sharing information on Plasmodium vivax treatment and prevention in the community.
Image: Nathalie Brasil/MMV/PATH

On 16 March, at the seventh annual International Society for Neglected Tropical Diseases (ISNTD) Festival, MMV was awarded the Advocacy award for its film, From science to real life: tackling relapsing malaria in the Amazon. The short film focuses on the Tafenoquine Rollout Study (TRuST), which was the first real-world, large-scale application of single-dose tafenoquine for Plasmodium vivax malaria. TRuST was co-sponsored by MMV and the Brazilian Ministry of Health and led by the Tropical Medicine Foundation of Amazonas (FMT) and the Tropical Medicine Research Center of Rondônia (CEPEM).

Kamran Rafiq, Co-Founder and Communications Director at ISNTD, said “From science to real life is a powerful advocacy tool, portraying a simple message that supports policy adoption. What made it a particularly strong message was the inclusion of the viewpoints of the different stakeholders who were involved in the research and implementation of the new treatment protocol for Plasmodium vivax malaria.”

Although known for its beautiful fauna and flora, the Amazonian region is also home to 99% of Brazil’s malaria burden. Ronaldo Menezes Lucena, one of the patients featured in the film, lives in Manaus and knows first-hand how debilitating the disease can be. He, like many others, has suffered from P. vivax malaria which relapses unless fully treated, meaning that multiple episodes of malaria are caused by a single mosquito bite. In some regions, relapsing infections are even more prevalent than initial infections.

Globally, P. vivax malaria affects fewer people than Plasmodium falciparum malaria, but it still causes around 5 million clinical infections each year. Tafenoquine, developed by MMV and GSK, is a radical cure for Plasmodium vivax malaria when taken with chloroquine. Radical cure means that it treats both the liver stage and blood stage of the disease, curing the patient of the present malaria infection and preventing future relapse. Further, as a single dose, tafenoquine compares favourably to the previous treatment, primaquine, which must be taken over at least 7 days. This difference translates into improved patient adherence.

Elodie Jambert, Senior Director of Access and Product Management at MMV, said “I am honoured that MMV's film was chosen for this award. The film shows the hard work and dedication of community health workers bringing life-changing new tools to people in challenging conditions in order to tackle this debilitating disease.”