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Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2015 Mar;92(3):555-60. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.14-0490. Epub 2015 Jan 26.

Comparing the impact of artemisinin-based combination therapies on malaria transmission in sub-Saharan Africa.

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School of Public Health, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
School of Public Health, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.


Artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) are currently considered the first-line treatments for uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Among these, artemether-lumefantrine (AL) has been the most widely prescribed ACT in sub-Saharan Africa. Recent clinical trials conducted in sub-Saharan Africa have shown that dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DP), a most recent ACT, may have a longer post-treatment prophylactic period and post-treatment infection period (duration of gametocyte carriage) than AL. Using epidemiological and clinical data on the efficacy of AL and DP, we developed and parameterized a mathematical transmission model that we used to compare the population-level impact of AL and DP for reducing P. falciparum malaria transmission in sub-Saharan Africa. Our results showed that DP is likely to more effectively reduce malaria incidence of clinical episodes than AL. However in low P. falciparum transmission areas, DP and AL are likely to be equally effective in reducing malaria prevalence. The predictions of our model were shown to be robust to the empirical uncertainty summarizing the epidemiological parameters. DP should be considered as a replacement for AL as first-line treatment of uncomplicated malaria in highly endemic P. falciparum communities. To optimize the effectiveness of ACTs, it is necessary to tailor treatment policies to the transmission intensity in different settings.

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