In vitro activity of tafenoquine alone and in combination with artemisinin against Plasmodium falciparum.

Michael RamharterDepartment of Specific Prophylaxis and Tropical Medicine, Institute of Pathophysiology, University of Vienna, Austria.

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Harald NoedlDepartment of Specific Prophylaxis and Tropical Medicine, Institute of Pathophysiology, University of Vienna, Austria.

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Krongthong ThimasarnDepartment of Specific Prophylaxis and Tropical Medicine, Institute of Pathophysiology, University of Vienna, Austria.

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Gerhard WiedermannDepartment of Specific Prophylaxis and Tropical Medicine, Institute of Pathophysiology, University of Vienna, Austria.

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Gunther WernsdorferDepartment of Specific Prophylaxis and Tropical Medicine, Institute of Pathophysiology, University of Vienna, Austria.

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Walther H WernsdorferDepartment of Specific Prophylaxis and Tropical Medicine, Institute of Pathophysiology, University of Vienna, Austria.

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Emergence and spread of drug-resistant falciparum malaria has created an urgent demand for alternative therapeutic agents. This study was conducted to assess the in vitro blood schizontocidal activity of tafenoquine, the most advanced candidate drug of the 8-aminoquinolines, and of its 1:1 combination with artemisinin in fresh isolates of Plasmodium falciparum in an area with multi-drug resistance, measuring the inhibition of schizont maturation. In 43 successfully tested parasite isolates, the mean effective concentrations (ECs) of tafenoquine were 209 nmol/L for the EC50, and 1,414 nmol/L for the EC90. Tafenoquine showed no significant activity relationships with mefloquine, artemisinin, and chloroquine. With quinine, a highly significant activity relationship was observed at the EC50, but not at the EC90. The EC50, and EC90 of the tafenoquine-artemisinin combination were 15.9 nmol/L and 84.3 nmol/L. The combination was synergistic. Tafenoquine appears to be a promising candidate for treating multidrug-resistant falciparum malaria, especially in combination with artemisinin derivatives.

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