The clinical impact of artemisinin resistance in Southeast Asia and the potential for future spread
BACKGROUND Artemisinins, which are derived from plants, are subject to risk of supply interruption due to climatic changes. Consequently, an effort to identify a new synthetic antimalarial was initiated. A fixed-dose combination of arterolane maleate (AM), a new synthetic trioxolane, with piperaquine phosphate (PQP), a long half-life bisquinoline, was evaluated in patients with uncomplicatedPlasmodium falciparummalaria. METHODS In this multicenter, randomized, double-blind, comparative, parallel-group trial, 1072 patients aged 12-65 years withP. falciparummonoinfection received either AM-PQP (714 patients) once daily or artemether-lumefantrine (A-L; 358 patients) twice daily for 3 days. All patients were followed up until day 42. RESULTS Of the 714 patients in the AM-PQP group, 638 (89.4%) completed the study; of the 358 patients in the A-L group, 301(84.1%) completed the study. In both groups, the polymerase chain reaction corrected adequate clinical and parasitological response (PCR-corrected ACPR) on day 28 in intent-to-treat (ITT) and per-protocol (PP) populations was 92.86% and 92.46% and 99.25% and 99.07%, respectively. The corresponding figures on day 42 in the ITT and PP populations were 90.48% and 91.34%, respectively. After adjusting for survival ITT, the PCR-corrected ACPR on day 42 was >98% in both groups. The overall incidence of adverse events was comparable. CONCLUSIONS AM-PQP showed comparable efficacy and safety to A-L in the treatment of uncomplicatedP. falciparummalaria in adolescent and adult patients. AM-PQP demonstrated high clinical and parasitological response rates as well as rapid parasite clearance. CLINICAL TRIALS REGISTRATION India. CTRI/2009/091/000101.