Scientific title: Interactions between artemisinin-based combination treatment for malaria and antiretrovirals for HIV/AIDS in co-infected patients in Muheza, Tanzania
What did we know before this research?
In many malaria-endemic countries HIV/AIDS continues to spread, therefore an increasing number of patients need treatment for both infections at the same time.
The World Health Organization and ministries of health in many endemic countries recommend the use of artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) for malaria and antiretroviral combination treatments (ART) for HIV/AIDS. Such treatments have become increasingly available.
However, there is cause for concern as some of these drugs share important metabolic cytochrome enzymes. This leads to drug interactions happening in the human body (known as pharmacokinetics) which could make these treatments become toxic and ultimately affect their efficacy.
There is currently very little clinical and pharmacological information available to guide clinicians and policy-makers on the use of drugs for malaria and HIV simultaneously.
What does this study add?
The InterACT project is a study that assesses the clinical safety, therapeutic efficacy and pharmacokinetic interactions between the currently recommended treatment for malaria (a type of ACT called artemether-lumefantrine) and some widely used antiretroviral treatments for HIV/AIDS in Tanzania.
The research team conducted the study among patients with uncomplicated malaria who attend the ‘HIV/AIDS Care and Treatment Clinic’ and ‘Muheza Designated District Hospital’ in Muheza, located in north-eastern Tanzania. This is an area characterized by intense transmission of Plasmodium falciparum malaria and a moderate prevalence of HIV.
The research team
Dr. Lasse Vestergaard, University of Copenhagen
Dr. Martha Lemnge, Director, National Institute for Medical Research, Tanga Centre, Tanga, Tanzania
Professor Ib Bygbjerg, Department of International Health, Immunology and Microbiology, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
Dr Nyagonde Nyagonde, NIMR, Tanga Centre, Tanzania
Prof Karen Barnes, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Latest on this research
The clinical phase of the InterACT trial in Tanzania has been completed and data analysis is now ongoing. More than 17,000 patients were screened for malaria, and about 500 eligible participants were enrolled and successfully completed the study. The results of the study will inform future national malaria treatment guidelines.