New Malaria Drug In Offing

The plasmodium parasite

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) have announced positive results of the phase III global programme to evaluate the efficacy and safety of tafenoquine in treating plasmodium vivax (P. vivax) malaria.

Tafenoquine is an investigational medicine which is being developed for the treatment and relapse prevention (radical cure) of plasmodium vivax (P. vivax) malaria, a form of the disease caused by one of several species of plasmodium parasites known to infect humans.

After an infected mosquito bite, the parasite has the ability to lie dormant in the liver and periodically reactivate causing relapses of P. vivax malaria. These relapses can occur weeks or even years after the initial infection.

Severe anaemia, malnutrition and respiratory distress are among the most serious consequences described to be caused by the infection.

Relapsing malaria places a heavy burden on the world, infecting over 8.5 million people a year.

The results of the phase III programme which included two randomised, double-blind treatment studies to investigate tafenoquine in adult patients with P. vivax malaria, showed single-dose 300mg tafenoquine reduces risk of relapse in patients with Plasmodium vivax malaria.

Patrick Vallance, President, GSK R&D, said, “Being able to treat patients with a single dose of medicine would be an important step forward in ensuring efficacious treatment, thereby reducing the risk of relapse, particularly in areas with very limited healthcare infrastructure.

“As part of these efforts, our aim is to make tafenoquine available and affordable as a single-dose medicine in malaria-endemic countries. The positive results of the phase III trials for single-dose tafenoquine provide great hope that a new, effective drug to stop the relapse of P. vivax malaria is in sight,” David Reddy, CEO of Medicines for Malaria Venture, said.

Tafenoquine is not yet approved or licensed for use anywhere in the world. GSK plans to progress regulatory filings for the prevention of relapse of P. vivax malaria later in 2017.


 By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri