In October 2011, the EMA granted marketing authorization for Eurartesim®, a fixed-dose combination of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DHA-PQP), developed by Sigma-Tau in partnership with MMV for the treatment of uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria.
Eurartesim is administered once a day for 3 days, making it easier for patients to comply with the dosing. In addition, studies have shown that Eurartesim’s drug half-life affords patients a useful period of protection from the risk of new malaria infections.1,2
There is a growing interest in DHA-PQP as a tool for potential use in mass-drug-administration (MDA) campaigns supporting national elimination efforts.
In Zambia, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-supported elimination pilot work has been carried out by the Government of Zambia in collaboration with the Malaria Control and Elimination Partnership in Africa (MACEPA) – MMV contributed to the development of training materials for the MDA pilot and worked closely with Sigma-Tau to ensure timely and sufficient availability of Eurartesim to support programme requirements.
Similar work is being undertaken in Mozambique through the MALTEM project in Magude district with potential extension to other districts. These MDA pilots have reinforced the need for enhanced pharmacovigilance during the use of ACTs for mass-drug administration across whole communities.
1. Valecha Net al. An open-label, randomised study of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine versus artesunate-mefloquine for falciparum malaria in Asia. PLoS One. 5(7):e11880 (2010).
2. Bassat Q, Mulenga M, Tinto H, Piola P, Borrmann S, et al. (2009) Dihydroartemisinin-Piperaquine and Artemether-Lumefantrine for Treating Uncomplicated Malaria in African Children: A Randomised, Non-Inferiority Trial. PLoS ONE 4(11): e7871. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0007871.