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Int J Parasitol. 2008 Jun;38(7):743-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpara.2008.03.004. Epub 2008 Apr 1.

In vitro evaluations of antimalarial drugs and their relevance to clinical outcomes.

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Department of Microbiology, College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University, 701 W 168th Street, New York, NY 10032, USA.


Plasmodium falciparum resistance to the former first-line antimalarials chloroquine and sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine has reached critically high levels in many malaria-endemic regions. This has spurred the introduction of several new artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) that display excellent potency in treating drug-resistant malaria. Monitoring for the emergence of drug resistant P. falciparum is important for maximising the clinically effective lifespan of ACTs. Here, we provide a commentary on the article by Kaddouri et al., published in this issue of the International Journal of Parasitology, which documents the levels of susceptibility to ACT drugs and chloroquine in P. falciparum isolates from Mali. These authors report that some isolates approached a proposed in vitro threshold of resistance to monodesethyl-amodiaquine (the principal effective metabolite of amodiaquine, an important ACT partner drug), and establish baseline levels of susceptibility to the ACT drugs dihydroartemisinin and lumefantrine. The majority of clinical isolates manifested in vitro resistance to chloroquine. The authors also show good concordance between field-based assays employing a non-radioactive lactate dehydrogenase-based method of determining in vitro drug IC(50) values and the well-established [(3)H]hypoxanthine-based radioactive method. This work illustrates a good example of drug resistance surveillance, whose global coordination is being championed by the World Antimalarial Resistance Network. Our current opinion also more generally discusses the complexities inherent to conducting in vitro investigations with P. falciparum patient isolates and correlating these findings with treatment outcome data.

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