Antimalarial drugs in pregnancy: Preclinical and clinical studies of conventional and novel agents [ 2007 - 2009 ]

Also known as: Old and new drugs for malaria in pregnancy

Research Grant

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Researchers: Prof Timothy Davis (Principal investigator) ,  A/Pr Harin Karunajeewa Kenneth Ilett Prof Ivo Mueller Prof Kevin Batty
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Brief description Women in malaria-endemic areas such as coastal PNG are at high risk of malaria in pregnancy. To prevent the substantially increased malaria-associated morbidity and mortality in mother and child, and because even asymptomatic infections can be deleterious, there has been a move to giving antimalarial drugs regularly during pregnancy regardless of the mother's clinical or parasitological status. In poor tropical countries, such treatment usually comprises safe and inexpensive agents such as chloroquine and Fansidar. There are two main issues with this approach. First, the efficacy of such conventional agents is waning and this increases the risk of break-through malaria. Second, there are few data on how the drugs are handled in pregnancy on which to base recommendations for treatment. We plan to collect information on the disposition and effectiveness of chloroquine and Fansidar in women with malaria in pregnancy in PNG that should allow a critical appraisal of the usefulness of current regimens in PNG and in other tropical countries where parasite resistance to these agents is emerging. Artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) in the form of a novel artemisinin drug and a longer-acting partner has been suggested as the most promising alternative therapy for malaria in pregnancy if conventional drugs fail. We plan to assess the safety of a leading ACT formulation, namely dihydroartemisinin and the chloroquine-like drug piperaquine (DHA-PQ), in animals before extending our studies to women with malaria in PNG. These latter studies will allow an evaluation of the safety and efficacy of DHA-PQ as novel therapy for malaria in pregnancy in PNG and other tropical countries.

Funding Amount $AUD 470,115.53

Funding Scheme NHMRC Project Grants

Notes Standard Project Grant

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