Currently, primaquine is the only treatment available to prevent the relapse of Plasmodium vivax malaria. However, as per the primaquine label and WHO recommendations, it is administered once daily for 14 days – a regimen that is hard for patients to comply with, meaning that many are not cured. A single-dose treatment with the potential to improve patient compliance would positively impact P. vivax control and elimination efforts.
MMV and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) have partnered to develop tafenoquine – a potential new single-dose cure to prevent the relapse of P. vivax malaria. In late 2017, registration dossiers were submitted to two stringent regulatory authorities (SRAs), representing a key milestone in the development programme of this important new treatment.
P. vivax accounts for about half of malaria cases outside of sub-Saharan Africa, often in countries that are close to eliminating malaria.1 Around 8.5 million clinical infections every year are caused by P. vivax.2 Relapsing malaria is a considerable challenge to malaria eradication efforts. Next-generation medicines that are well tolerated in all malaria
patients are needed to support these efforts.
To identify new treatments for relapse prevention, several new assays to screen compounds against liver-stage Plasmodium vivax malaria have been developed by MMV’s partners.
More information in an interview with Dr Steve Maher Assistant Research Scientist, Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases, University of Georgia, USA
1. World Health Organization. Control and elimination of Plasmodium vivax malaria: a technical brief (2015).
2. World Health Organization. World Malaria Report 2017.