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The influence of biological, epidemiological, and treatment factors on the establishment and spread of drug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum

Masserey, Thiery, Lee, Tamsin, Golumbeanu, Monica, Shattock, Andrew J, Kelly, Sherrie L, Hastings, Ian ORCID: and Penny, Melissa A (2022) 'The influence of biological, epidemiological, and treatment factors on the establishment and spread of drug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum'. eLife, Vol 11, e77634ho.

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The effectiveness of artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) to treat Plasmodium falciparum malaria is threatened by resistance. The complex interplay between sources of selective pressure—treatment properties, biological factors, transmission intensity, and access to treatment—obscures understanding how, when, and why resistance establishes and spreads across different locations. We developed a disease modelling approach with emulator-based global sensitivity analysis to systematically quantify which of these factors drive establishment and spread of drug resistance. Drug resistance was more likely to evolve in low transmission settings due to the lower levels of (i) immunity and (ii) within-host competition between genotypes. Spread of parasites resistant to artemisinin partner drugs depended on the period of low drug concentration (known as the selection window). Spread of partial artemisinin resistance was slowed with prolonged parasite exposure to artemisinin derivatives and accelerated when the parasite was also resistant to the partner drug. Thus, to slow the spread of partial artemisinin resistance, molecular surveillance should be supported to detect resistance to partner drugs and to change ACTs accordingly. Furthermore, implementing more sustainable artemisinin-based therapies will require extending parasite exposure to artemisinin derivatives, and mitigating the selection windows of partner drugs, which could be achieved by including an additional long-acting drug.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: QX Parasitology > Protozoa > QX 135 Plasmodia
QX Parasitology > QX 20 Research (General)
QX Parasitology > QX 4 General works
WC Communicable Diseases > Tropical and Parasitic Diseases > WC 695 Parasitic diseases (General)
Faculty: Department: Biological Sciences > Department of Tropical Disease Biology
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
Depositing User: Marie Hatton
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2022 10:09
Last Modified: 20 Jul 2022 10:09


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