is an infectious disease that kills more than 600,000 people every year.
Several species of the genus Plasmodium cause malaria, with two of the most
common being Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax. Though both species cause a very
similar illness, P. falciparum malaria is more likely to result in fatalities
than P. vivax malaria, while P. vivax malaria is more likely to recur -- to
return after a period of time during which the patient is healthy and has no
parasites present in the blood.
two species of malaria parasites respond differently to antimalarial
medications, but in many areas where malaria is common, testing to determine
what type of malaria a patient has is not widely available. Therefore malaria
treatments are often tested against both species of the parasite, and
first-line malaria treatments in these regions ideally should be effective
against both parasites.
many years, public health professionals in Papua New Guinea have recommended a
treatment regimen, Drug Combination A, as a first-line malaria treatment.
Recently a new treatment regimen, Drug Combination B, has been proposed as a
potential replacement for Combination A, and a study was conducted to compare
entering a local health clinic with malaria symptoms were tested to determine
which Plasmodium species they carried.
The patients were then randomly assigned Drug Combination A or Drug Combination
B, and their blood was tested periodically for the presence of parasites.
rare occasions, patients have severe allergic reactions to a compound that is
found in both Drug Combination A and Drug Combination B. In these cases, a second-line treatment must
be used. A second study was conducted to determine which of several drug
combinations would be the best second-line drug to recommend for use in Papua
New Guinea. Table 1 shows the treatment response to the second-line drug combinations.