Drug efficacy against kelch 13 mutant malaria parasites can be determined in vitro with the ring-stage survival assay (RSA). The conventional assay protocol reflects the exposure profile of dihydroartemisinin.
Taking into account that other anti-malarial peroxides, such as the synthetic ozonides OZ439 (artefenomel) and OZ609, have different pharmacokinetics, the RSA was adjusted to the concentration–time profile of these ozonides in humans and a novel, semi-automated readout was introduced.
When tested at clinically relevant parameters, it was shown that OZ439 and OZ609 are active against the Plasmodium falciparum clinical isolate Cam3.IR539T.
If the in vitro RSA does indeed predict the potency of compounds against parasites with increased tolerance to artemisinin and its derivatives, then the herein presented data suggest that following drug-pulses of at least 48 h, OZ439 and OZ609 will be highly potent against kelch 13 mutant isolates, such as P. falciparum Cam3.IR539T.
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