The Vivax Working Group (VxWG) of the Asia Pacific Malaria Elimination Network (APMEN) works closely with national malaria programmes and research partners to support malaria elimination in the region. Core activities include identifying knowledge gaps, building regional consensus on shared priorities, generating evidence and facilitating policy change.
A key aim of the VxWG is to promote the widespread use of safe and effective ‘radical cures’ of malaria, including development of novel, cost-effective treatments. Alongside such regimens, however, routine testing for specific enzymes are also important: Deficiencies in a critical enzyme involved in drug metabolism – glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (or G6PD) – are common in malaria endemic countries. Testing for such deficiencies is critical because exposure to anti-malarial drugs such as primaquine and tafenoquine in deficient individuals can induce life-threatening side-effects (hemolysis).
With funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the VxWG is carrying out surveys in seven Asian countries (Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Nepal and Viet Nam) to identify populations at greatest risk of malaria and individuals at greatest risk of hemolysis.
The standardized surveys comprise cross-sectional and health care facility-based surveys, enrolling patients with malaria and non-malaria fever. The surveys are complemented by a social science component that gathers information on local knowledge, attitudes and practices on malaria and its treatment. The study uses a standardized format for all sites, designed to facilitate data collection from a questionnaire and a single blood sample. The study will provide important local information on populations and individuals at risk of malaria and drug induced hemolysis, as well validation for novel diagnostic tools under development. The studies will strengthen the evidence base for implementing targeted malaria control activities that underpin the goal of malaria elimination.
Read more about the APMEN Vivax Working Group here.