Combination therapy counteracts the enhanced transmission of drug-resistant malaria parasites to mosquitoes.

Hallett, RL; Sutherland, CJ; Alexander, N; Ord, R; Jawara, M; Drakeley, CJ; Pinder, M; Walraven, G; Targett, GA; Alloueche, A; (2004) Combination therapy counteracts the enhanced transmission of drug-resistant malaria parasites to mosquitoes. Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy, 48 (10). pp. 3940-3. ISSN 0066-4804 DOI:

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Malaria parasites carrying genes conferring resistance to antimalarials are thought to have a selective advantage which leads to higher rates of transmissibility from the drug-treated host. This is a likely mechanism for the increasing prevalence of parasites with resistance to chloroquine (CQ) and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine in sub-Saharan Africa. Combination therapy is the key strategy being implemented to reduce the impact of resistance, but its effect on the transmission of genetically resistant parasites from treated patients to mosquito vectors has not been measured directly. In a trial comparing CQ monotherapy to the combination CQ plus artesunate (AS) in Gambian children with uncomplicated falciparum malaria, we measured transmissibility by feeding Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes with blood from 43 gametocyte-positive patients through a membrane. In the CQ-treated group, gametocytes from patients carrying parasites with the CQ resistance-associated allele pfcrt-76T prior to treatment produced infected mosquitoes with 38 times higher Plasmodium falciparum oocyst burdens than mosquitoes fed on gametocytes from patients infected with sensitive parasites (P < 0.001). Gametocytes from parasites carrying the resistance-associated allele pfmdr1-86Y produced 14-fold higher oocyst burdens than gametocytes from patients infected with sensitive parasites (P = 0.011). However, parasites carrying either of these resistance-associated alleles pretreatment were not associated with higher mosquito oocyst burdens in the CQ-AS-treated group. Thus, combination therapy overcomes the transmission advantage enjoyed by drug-resistant parasites.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases > Dept of Immunology and Infection
Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Infectious Disease Epidemiology
Research Centre: Antimicrobial Resistance Centre (AMR)
Malaria Centre
Tropical Epidemiology Group
PubMed ID: 15388456
Web of Science ID: 224217000042


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