Killing the hypnozoite – drug discovery approaches to prevent relapse in Plasmodium vivax

06 May 2015

Brice Campo, Omar Vandal, David L. Wesche and Jeremy N Burrows

Pathogens and Global Health

DOI: 10.1179/2047773215Y.0000000013

Photo: Pichit/


The eradication of malaria will only be possible if effective, well-tolerated medicines kill hypnozoites in vivax and ovale malaria, and thus prevent relapses in patients. Despite progress in the 8-aminoquinoline series, with tafenoquine in Phase III showing clear benefits over primaquine, the drug discovery challenge to identify hypnozoiticidal or hypnozoite-activating compounds has been hampered by the dearth of biological tools and assays, which in turn has been limited by the immense scientific and logistical challenges associated with accessing relevant human tissue and sporozoites. This review summarises the existing drug discovery series and approaches concerning the goal to block relapse.

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