Prolonged Protection Provided by a Single Dose of Atovaquone-Proguanil for the Chemoprophylaxis of Plasmodium falciparum Malaria in a Human Challenge Model

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Background. We conducted a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial to establish the efficacy of atovaquone-proguanil to prevent malaria with the goal of simulating weekly dosing in a human Plasmodium falciparum challenge model.Methods. Thirty volunteers randomly received 1 of the following dose regimens: (1) 250 milligrams of atovaquone and 100 milligrams of proguanil (250/100 milligrams) 1 day prior to infectious mosquito challenge (day −1), (2) 250/100 milligrams on day 4 after challenge, (3) 250/100 milligrams on day −7, (4) 500 milligrams of atovaquone and 200 milligrams of proguanil (500/200 milligrams) on day −7 or, (5) 1000 milligrams of atovaquone and 400 milligrams of proguanil (1000/400 milligrams) on day −7. All regimens included matching placebo such that all volunteers received identical pill numbers. Six volunteers served as open-label infectivity controls. Volunteers underwent mosquito sporozoite challenge with P. falciparum 3D7 strain. Follow-up consisted of serial microscopy and close clinical monitoring for 90 days.Results. Six of 6 infectivity controls developed parasitemia as expected. Two of 5 evaluable volunteers receiving 250/100 milligrams 7 days prior to challenge and 1 of 6 volunteers receiving 1000/400 milligrams 7 days prior to challenge were microscopically diagnosed with malaria. All other volunteers were protected. Atovaquone exposure (area under the curve) during liver stage development was low in 2 of 3 volunteers with prophylactic failure (423 and 199 ng/mL × days compared with a mean for protected volunteers of 1903 ng/mL × days), as was peak concentration (165 and 81 ng/mL compared with a mean of 594 ng/mL in volunteers with prophylactic success). Elimination half-life was short in volunteers with prophylactic failure (2.4, 2.0, and 3.3 days compared with a mean of 4.1 days in volunteers with prophylactic success).Conclusions. Single-dose atovaquone-proguanil provides effective malaria chemoprophylaxis against P. falciparum challenge at dosing intervals supportive of weekly dosing. Postexposure prophylaxis 4 days after challenge was 100% effective.

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