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Trials. 2011 Jul 13;12:176. doi: 10.1186/1745-6215-12-176.

Inhaled nitric oxide for the adjunctive therapy of severe malaria: protocol for a randomized controlled trial.

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  • 1Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Toronto, Canada.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Severe malaria remains a major cause of global morbidity and mortality. Despite the use of potent anti-parasitic agents, the mortality rate in severe malaria remains high. Adjunctive therapies that target the underlying pathophysiology of severe malaria may further reduce morbidity and mortality. Endothelial activation plays a central role in the pathogenesis of severe malaria, of which angiopoietin-2 (Ang-2) has recently been shown to function as a key regulator. Nitric oxide (NO) is a major inhibitor of Ang-2 release from endothelium and has been shown to decrease endothelial inflammation and reduce the adhesion of parasitized erythrocytes. Low-flow inhaled nitric oxide (iNO) gas is a US FDA-approved treatment for hypoxic respiratory failure in neonates.

METHODS/DESIGN:

This prospective, parallel arm, randomized, placebo-controlled, blinded clinical trial compares adjunctive continuous inhaled nitric oxide at 80 ppm to placebo (both arms receiving standard anti-malarial therapy), among Ugandan children aged 1-10 years of age with severe malaria. The primary endpoint is the longitudinal change in Ang-2, an objective and quantitative biomarker of malaria severity, which will be analysed using a mixed-effects linear model. Secondary endpoints include mortality, recovery time, parasite clearance and neurocognitive sequelae.

DISCUSSION:

Noteworthy aspects of this trial design include its efficient sample size supported by a computer simulation study to evaluate statistical power, meticulous attention to complex ethical issues in a cross-cultural setting, and innovative strategies for safety monitoring and blinding to treatment allocation in a resource-constrained setting in sub-Saharan Africa.

TRIAL REGISTRATION:

ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01255215.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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