Send to

Choose Destination
Lancet Infect Dis. 2017 Dec;17(12):1266-1275. doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(17)30365-1. Epub 2017 Sep 12.

AQ-13, an investigational antimalarial, versus artemether plus lumefantrine for the treatment of uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria: a randomised, phase 2, non-inferiority clinical trial.

Author information

University of the Sciences, Techniques and Technologies of Bamako, Bamako, Mali.
Department of Tropical Medicine and the Center for Infectious Diseases, Tulane University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, LA, USA.
Department of Medicine, Tulane University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, LA, USA.
Department of Global Biostatistics and Data Science, Tulane University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, LA, USA.
Department of Medicine, Tulane University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, LA, USA; Department of Tropical Medicine and the Center for Infectious Diseases, Tulane University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, LA, USA. Electronic address:



Chloroquine was used for malaria treatment until resistant Plasmodium falciparum was identified. Because 4-aminoquinolines with modified side chains, such as AQ-13, are active against resistant parasites, we compared AQ-13 against artemether plus lumefantrine for treatment of uncomplicated P falciparum malaria.


We did a randomised, non-inferiority trial. We screened men (≥18 years) with uncomplicated malaria in Missira (northeast Mali) and Bamako (capital of Mali) for eligibility (≥2000 asexual P falciparum parasites per μL of blood). Eligible participants were randomly assigned to either the artemether plus lumefantrine group or AQ-13 group by permuting blocks of four with a random number generator. Physicians and others caring for the participants were masked, except for participants who received treatment and the research pharmacist who implemented the randomisation and provided treatment. Participants received either 80 mg of oral artemether and 480 mg of oral lumefantrine twice daily for 3 days or 638·50 mg of AQ-13 base (two oral capsules) on days 1 and 2, and 319·25 mg base (one oral capsule) on day 3. Participants were monitored for parasite clearance (50 μL blood samples twice daily at 12 h intervals until two consecutive negative samples were obtained) and interviewed for adverse events (once every day) as inpatients during week 1. During the 5-week outpatient follow-up, participants were examined for adverse events and recurrent infection twice per week. All participants were included in the intention-to-treat analysis and per-protocol analysis, except for those who dropped out in the per-protocol analysis. The composite primary outcome was clearance of asexual parasites and fever by day 7, and absence of recrudescent infection by parasites with the same molecular markers from days 8 to 42 (defined as cure). Non-inferiority was considered established if the proportion of patients who were cured was higher for artemether plus lumefantrine than for AQ-13 and the upper limit of the 95% CI was less than the non-inferiority margin of 15%. This trial is registered at, number NCT01614964.


Between Aug 6 and Nov 18, 2013, and between Sept 18 and Nov 20, 2015, 66 Malian men with uncomplicated malaria were enrolled. 33 participants were randomly assigned to each group. There were no serious adverse events (grade 2-4) and asexual parasites were cleared by day 7 in both groups. 453 less-severe adverse events (≤grade 1) were reported: 214 in the combination group and 239 in the AQ-13 group. Two participants withdrew from the AQ-13 group after parasite clearance and three were lost to follow-up. In the artemether plus lumefantrine group, two participants had late treatment failures (same markers as original isolates). On the basis of the per-protocol analysis, the AQ-13 and artemether plus lumefantrine groups had similar proportions cured (28 [100%] of 28 vs 31 [93·9%] of 33; p=0·50) and AQ-13 was not inferior to artemether plus lumefantrine (difference -6·1%, 95% CI -14·7 to 2·4). Proportions cured were also similar between the groups in the intention-to-treat analysis (28 of 33, 84·8% for AQ-13 vs 31 of 33, 93·9% for artemether and lumefantrine; p=0·43) but the upper bound of the 95% CI exceeded the 15% non-inferiority margin (difference 9·1%, 95% CI -5·6 to 23·8).


The per-protocol analysis suggested non-inferiority of AQ-13 to artemether plus lumefantrine. By contrast, the intention-to-treat analysis, which included two participants who withdrew and three who were lost to follow-up from the AQ-13 group, did not meet the criterion for non-inferiority of AQ-13, although there were no AQ-13 treatment failures. Studies with more participants (and non-immune participants) are needed to decide whether widespread use of modified 4-aminoquinolones should be recommended.


US Food and Drug Administration Orphan Product Development, National Institutes of Health, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Burroughs-Wellcome Fund, US State Department, and WHO.

Comment in

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center