Efficacy of single dose primaquine with artemisinin combination therapy on P. falciparum gametocytes and transmission: A WWARN individual patient meta-analysis

Kasia Stepniewska, Georgina S Humphreys, Bronner P Gonçalves, Elaine Craig, Roly Gosling, Philippe J Guerin, Ric N Price, Karen I Barnes, Jaishree Raman, Menno R Smit, Umberto D'Alessandro, Will J R Stone, Anders Bjorkman, Aaron M Samuels, Maria I Arroyo-Arroyo, Guido J H Bastiaens, Joelle M Brown, Alassane Dicko, Badria B El-Sayed, Salah-Eldin G ElzakiAlice C Eziefula, Simon Kariuki, Titus K Kwambai, Amanda E Maestre, Andreas Martensson, Dominic Mosha, Richard O Mwaiswelo, Billy E Ngasala, Joseph Okebe, Michelle E Roh, Patrick Sawa, Alfred B Tiono, Ingrid Chen, Chris J Drakeley, Teun Bousema

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Since the World Health Organization recommended single low-dose (0.25mg/kg) primaquine (PQ) in combination with artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) in areas of low transmission or artemisinin-resistant P. falciparum, several single-site studies have been conducted to assess its efficacy.

METHODS: An individual patient meta-analysis to assess the gametocytocidal and transmission-blocking efficacy of PQ used in combination with different ACTs was conducted. Random effects logistic regression was used to quantify PQ effect on (i) gametocyte carriage in the first two weeks post-treatment; (ii) the probability of infecting at least one mosquito or of a mosquito becoming infected.

RESULTS: In 2,574 participants from fourteen studies, PQ reduced PCR-determined gametocyte carriage on days 7 and 14, most apparently in patients presenting with gametocytaemia on day 0 (Odds Ratio (OR)=0.22; 95%CI 0.17-0.28 and OR=0.12; 95%CI 0.08-0.16, respectively). The rate of decline in gametocyte carriage was faster when PQ was combined with artemether-lumefantrine (AL) compared to dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DP) (p=0.010 for day 7). Addition of 0.25mg/kg PQ was associated with near complete prevention of transmission to mosquitoes.

CONCLUSION: Primaquine's transmission-blocking effects are achieved with 0.25 mg/kg PQ. Gametocyte persistence and infectivity are lower when PQ is combined with AL compared to DP.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Journal of infectious diseases
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Aug 2020

Cite this