This program project includes three randomized clinical trials to test whether long-term use of chemopreventive antimalarial therapies in children or of antiretroviral protease inhibitors in children or pregnant women will decrease the incidence of malaria and related malarial morbidity. These interventions offer the opportunity to significantly decrease the incidence and morbidity of malaria, the most important infectious disease in children and pregnant women in Africa. However, repeated or chronic therapy for infectious diseases routinely entails a risk of selection of drug-resistant parasites. This is a particular concern for malaria, as drug resistance already limits treatment options, and control efforts based of intermittent therapy have relied heavily on antifolates, against which resistance is increasing. Thus, as our clinical trials test the preventive antimalarial efficacy of antiretroviral and antimalarial drugs, it is very important to characterize the impact of these interventions on the selection of drug-resistant malaria parasites. We hypothesize that intermittent or chronic use of antimalarial and protease inhibitor-based antiretroviral therapies will decrease the incidence of malaria, but that these therapies will select for drug resistant parasites that may become refractory to control efforts. Further, we hypothesize that different drugs will offer different selective pressures. Therefore, an appreciation of the selective pressures for resistance of different drugs can, in addition to the results of our clinical trials, guide public policy for the management of HIV infection and malaria in Africa. Project 4 will utilize parasitology and molecular techniques to test our hypotheses, benefiting from a clinical laboratory with focused expertise in Tororo, a central laboratory in Kampala with extensive molecular and parasitological capabilities, and a laboratory with 20 years of experience studying malaria parasites at UCSF.
Our specific aims will be: 1) to characterize the selection of drug-resistant malaria parasites by antifolate chemopreventive regimens, 2) to characterize the selection of drug-resistant malaria parasites by chemoprevention with dihydroartemisinin/piperaquine, and 3) to characterize the selection of drug-resistant malaria parasites by antiretroviral protease inhibitors with antimalarial activity. These studies will complement our clinical trials to provide a balanced assessment of the costs and benefits of new chemopreventive measures to control malaria.
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