Members of the WWARN Clinical Group at First World Congress on Malaria, Melbourne. Photo credit: Jutta Murfart, Menzies School of Health Research

Spotlight on P. vivax at the First Malaria World Congress

2 July 2018

Malaria experts are gathering this week in Melbourne, Australia for the First Malaria World Congress to discuss recent commitments from the Malaria Summit in London. The discussions will focus on elimination efforts, cross-sectoral collaboration and the financial commitments needed to drive forward the global fight against malaria.

WWARN’s Clinical Group lead Professor Ric Price will join Kamala Ley-Thriemer and Dr Rob Commons to present a number of sessions focussed on p. vivax malaria and radical cure treatment approaches for this debilitating liver-stage parasitic disease.

An estimated 2.48 billion people were at risk of Plasmodium vivax in 2010, with a large majority living in Central and South East Asia. There is increasing evidence that P. vivax results in significant morbidity and associated mortality. Primaquine can reduce parasite transmission, morbidity and mortality. But in patients with a g6PD deficiency, primaquine can cause a risk of haemolysis which can leave healthcare providers reluctant to prescribe the drug and patients often failing to complete a full course of treatment. Professor Ric Price will chair a panel on Monday 2nd July at 4.00pm to discuss the latest data on the risks and benefits of primaquine and its role in global elimination efforts.  Professor Kevin Baird, Head of the Eijkman Oxford Clinical Research Unit and Dr Rini Poespoprodjo from the University of Gadja Mada will join Dr Kamal Ley-Thriemer and Dr Rob Commons from the WWARN Clinical Group on the panel. 

The WWARN Clinical team will champion their perspective that eliminating malaria outside of sub-saharan Africa requires widespread implementation of a 'radical cure' like primaquine, particularly in the Asia Pacific region. More results are expected to be published by the team in the coming weeks.

Dr Rob Commons will present the early findings of a WWARN Study Group entitled, ‘The risk of Plasmodium vivax parasitaemia after Plasmodium falciparum infection: a systematic review and meta-analysis’ on Tuesday 3rd July at 5.45pm in the MWC Global Village. Rob will also present at 5.45pm on Wednesday 4th July a poster session entitled ‘Community engagement, P. vivax and G6PD: addressing roadblocks to elimination’ in the Eureka Room.

The APLMA / APMEN Dialogue at 6:40pm on Tuesday 3rd July (Room 209) will provide an opportunity to discuss strategies to end malaria for good. APMEN Secretariat and APLMA Board of Directors and Secretariat will attend the dialogue alongside Congress delegates, global and Asia-Pacific regional stakeholders and partners.

The conference will close with two must-attend sessions: Wednesday 4th July at 6.30pm join an expert-led Questions & Answers session on “Ending Malaria”. Prof Price will join Maelle Ba from Speak Up Africa, Peter Sands, Executive Director at The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Olivia Ngou Zangue, Deputy Director Africa, Malaria No More and Sherwin Charles, CEO and Co-Founder of Goodbye Malaria.

The final plenary on Thursday 5th July at 8.30am will focus on “Moving towards Elimination and Eradication: Roadmap for the future” led by Pedro Alonso, Director of the WHO Global Malaria Programme.