In Vivo Efficacy of Chloroquine Treatment for Plasmodium Falciparum in Malawian Children Under Five Years of Age

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  • * Combatting Childhood Communicable Diseases Program, Ministry of Health, Malawi
  • | ** Malaria Branch
  • | International Health Program Office, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, Georgia
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In 1984 the government of Malawi instituted a program to reduce malaria mortality and morbidity in children <5 years of age as a part of the Combatting Childhood Communicable Diseases (CCCD) program. To define the appropriate malaria therapy regimen, investigators used a quality assurance design in a simplified 7-day in vivo drug response study with follow-up observations on day 2 (D2), D3, and D7 after the initial day of the study (D0). The efficacy of oral chloroquine was assessed in 224 children who were enrolled at 6 sites, 2 in each of the 3 administrative regions of Malawi. Parasitological failure, defined as failure of parasitemia to decrease by 75% of the value by D3 or presence of any detectable parasitemia on D7, ranged from 41%–65% following administration of chloroquine 25 mg (base)/kg. However, only 8% of children who were parasitemic on D7 were febrile or judged to be ill. Considering these therapeutic results and the higher cost and limited availability of alternative therapies, chloroquine 25 mg/kg therapy was adopted as the primary therapy for malaria.