Impact of Microscopic and Submicroscopic Parasitemia During Pregnancy on Placental Malaria in a High-Transmission Setting in Uganda.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Placental malaria is a major cause of adverse birth outcomes. However, data are limited on the relationships between longitudinal measures of parasitemia during pregnancy and placental malaria. METHODS:Data came from 637 women enrolled in a randomized controlled trial of intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in pregnancy (IPTp) from Uganda. Plasmodium falciparum parasitemia was assessed using microscopy and ultrasensitive quantitative PCR at intervals of 28 days from 12 to 20 weeks gestation through delivery. Multivariate analysis was used to measure associations between characteristics of parasitemia during pregnancy and the risk of placental malaria based on histopathology. RESULTS:Overall risk of placental malaria was 44.6%. None of the 34 women without parasitemia detected during pregnancy had evidence of placental malaria. Increasing proportion of interval assessments with parasitemia and higher parasite densities were independently associated with an increased risk of placental malaria. Higher gravidity and more effective IPTp were associated with a decreased risk of placental malaria. Women with parasitemia only detected before the third trimester still had an increased risk of placental malaria. CONCLUSIONS:The frequency, density, and timing of parasitemia are all important risk factors for placental malaria. Interventions should target the prevention of all levels of parasitemia throughout pregnancy.
Project description:Background:Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DHA-PQ) is highly efficacious as intermittent preventive therapy for malaria during pregnancy (IPTp). Determining associations between piperaquine (PQ) exposure, malaria risk, and adverse birth outcomes informs optimal dosing strategies. Methods:Human immunodeficiency virus-uninfected pregnant women (n = 300) were enrolled in a placebo-controlled trial of IPTp at 12-20 weeks' gestation and randomized to sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine every 8 weeks, DHA-PQ every 8 weeks, or DHA-PQ every 4 weeks during pregnancy. Pharmacokinetic sampling for PQ was performed every 4 weeks, and an intensive pharmacokinetic substudy was performed in 30 women at 28 weeks' gestation. Concentration-effect relationships were assessed between exposure to PQ; the prevalence of Plasmodium falciparum infection during pregnancy; outcomes at delivery including placental malaria, low birth weight, and preterm birth; and risks for toxicity. Simulations of new dosing scenarios were performed. Results:Model-defined PQ target venous plasma concentrations of 13.9 ng/mL provided 99% protection from P. falciparum infection during pregnancy. Each 10-day increase in time above target PQ concentrations was associated with reduced odds of placental parasitemia, preterm birth, and low birth weight, though increases in PQ concentrations were associated with QT interval prolongation. Modeling suggests that daily or weekly administration of lower dosages of PQ, compared to standard dosing, will maintain PQ trough levels above target concentrations with reduced PQ peak levels, potentially limiting toxicity. Conclusions:The protective efficacy of IPTp with DHA-PQ was strongly associated with higher drug exposure. Studies of the efficacy and safety of alternative DHA-PQ IPTp dosing strategies are warranted. Clinical Trials Registration:NCT02163447.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Several studies have reported an association between malaria infection of the placenta and the risk of malaria in young children in the first year of life, but it is not known if this is causal, or influenced by malaria control measures during pregnancy. This paper compares the incidence of malaria in infants born to mothers who received either intermittent preventive treatment with sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine (IPTp-SP) or screening with a rapid diagnostic test and treatment with artemether-lumefantrine (ISTp-AL) during their pregnancy. METHODS:From July 2011 to April 2013, 988 infants of women enrolled in a trial of IPTp-SP versus ISTp-AL in the Kassena-Nankana districts of northern Ghana were followed to determine the risk of clinical malaria during early life, and their risk of parasitaemia and anaemia at 6 and 12 months of age. In addition, the incidence of clinical malaria in infants whose mothers had malaria infection of the placenta was compared with that in infants born to women free of placental malaria. RESULTS:The incidence of clinical malaria was 0.237 and 0.211 episodes per child year in infants whose mothers had received ISTp-AL or IPTp-SP, respectively. The adjusted incidence rate ratio and the adjusted rate difference were 0.94 (95% CI 0.68, 1.33) and 0.029 (95% CI -0.053, 0.110) cases per child year at risk respectively. The incidence of clinical malaria was similar in infants born to women with placental malaria (0.195 episodes per child year) and in infants of women without placental malaria (0.224 episodes per child year) (rate ratio = 0.86 [95% CI 0.54, 1.37]). CONCLUSION:Infants born to women managed with ISTp-AL during pregnancy were not at greatly increased risk of malaria compared with infants born to women who had received IPTp-SP. The incidence of malaria in infants was similar whether or not their mother had had placental malaria.
Project description:The effectiveness of intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in pregnancy (IPTp) may be compromised by the spread of resistance to sulphadoxine/pyrimethamine (SP) across Africa. But little information exists on alternative drugs for IPTp or alternative strategies for the prevention of malaria in pregnancy. Therefore, we have investigated whether screening with a rapid diagnostic test and treatment of those who are positive (IST) at routine antenatal clinic attendances is as effective and as safe as SP-IPTp in pregnant women.During antenatal clinic sessions in six health facilities in Ghana held between March 2007 and September 2007, 3333 pregnant women who satisfied inclusion criteria were randomised into three intervention arms (1) standard SP-IPTp, (2) IST and treatment with SP or (3) IST and treatment with amodiaquine+artesunate (AQ+AS). All women received a long-lasting insecticide treated net. Study women had a maximum of three scheduled follow-up visits following enrollment. Haemoglobin concentration and peripheral parasitaemia were assessed between 36 and 40 weeks of gestation. Birth weight was measured at delivery or within 72 hours for babies delivered at home. Parasite prevalence at enrollment in primigravidae and in multigravidae was 29.6% and 10.2% respectively. At 36-40 weeks of gestation the prevalence of asymptomatic parasitaemia was 12.1% in study women overall and was very similar in all treatment groups. The risk of third trimester severe anaemia or low birth weight did not differ significantly between the three treatment groups regardless of gravidity. IST with AQ+AS or SP was not inferior to SP-IPTp in reducing the risk of low birth weight (RD? = ?-1.17[95%CI; -4.39-1.02] for IST-SP vs. SP-IPTp and RD = 0.78[95%CI; -2.11-3.68] for IST-AQAS vs. SP-IPTp); third trimester severe anaemia (RD = 0.29[95%CI; -0.69-1.30] for IST-SP vs. SP-IPTp and RD ?= ?-0.36[95%CI;-1.12-0.44] for IST-AQAS vs. SP-IPTp).The results of this study suggest that in an area of moderately high malaria transmission, IST with SP or AS+AQ may be a safe and effective strategy for the control of malaria in pregnancy. However, it is important that these encouraging findings are confirmed in other geographical areas and that the impact of IST on placental malaria is investigated.ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00432367 [NCT00432367].
Project description:BACKGROUND:Intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in pregnancy (IPTp) with dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (IPTp-DP) has been shown to reduce the burden of malaria during pregnancy compared to sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (IPTp-SP). However, limited data exist on how IPTp regimens impact malaria risk during infancy. We conducted a double-blinded randomized controlled trial (RCT) to test the hypothesis that children born to mothers given IPTp-DP would have a lower incidence of malaria during infancy compared to children born to mothers who received IPTp-SP. METHODS AND FINDINGS:We compared malaria metrics among children in Tororo, Uganda, born to women randomized to IPTp-SP given every 8 weeks (SP8w, n = 100), IPTp-DP every 8 weeks (DP8w, n = 44), or IPTp-DP every 4 weeks (DP4w, n = 47). After birth, children were given chemoprevention with DP every 12 weeks from 8 weeks to 2 years of age. The primary outcome was incidence of malaria during the first 2 years of life. Secondary outcomes included time to malaria from birth and time to parasitemia following each dose of DP given during infancy. Results are reported after adjustment for clustering (twin gestation) and potential confounders (maternal age, gravidity, and maternal parasitemia status at enrolment).The study took place between June 2014 and May 2017. Compared to children whose mothers were randomized to IPTp-SP8w (0.24 episodes per person year [PPY]), the incidence of malaria was higher in children born to mothers who received IPTp-DP4w (0.42 episodes PPY, adjusted incidence rate ratio [aIRR] 1.92; 95% CI 1.00-3.65, p = 0.049) and nonsignificantly higher in children born to mothers who received IPT-DP8w (0.30 episodes PPY, aIRR 1.44; 95% CI 0.68-3.05, p = 0.34). However, these associations were modified by infant sex. Female children whose mothers were randomized to IPTp-DP4w had an apparently 4-fold higher incidence of malaria compared to female children whose mothers were randomized to IPTp-SP8w (0.65 versus 0.20 episodes PPY, aIRR 4.39, 95% CI 1.87-10.3, p = 0.001), but no significant association was observed in male children (0.20 versus 0.28 episodes PPY, aIRR 0.66, 95% CI 0.25-1.75, p = 0.42). Nonsignificant increases in malaria incidence were observed among female, but not male, children born to mothers who received DP8w versus SP8w. In exploratory analyses, levels of malaria-specific antibodies in cord blood were similar between IPTp groups and sex. However, female children whose mothers were randomized to IPTp-DP4w had lower mean piperaquine (PQ) levels during infancy compared to female children whose mothers received IPTp-SP8w (coef 0.81, 95% CI 0.65-1.00, p = 0.048) and male children whose mothers received IPTp-DP4w (coef 0.72, 95% CI 0.57-0.91, p = 0.006). There were no significant sex-specific differences in PQ levels among children whose mothers were randomized to IPTp-SP8w or IPTp-DP8w. The main limitations were small sample size and childhood provision of DP every 12 weeks in infancy. CONCLUSIONS:Contrary to our hypothesis, preventing malaria in pregnancy with IPTp-DP in the context of chemoprevention with DP during infancy does not lead to a reduced incidence of malaria in childhood; in this setting, it may be associated with an increased incidence of malaria in females. Future studies are needed to better understand the biological mechanisms of in utero drug exposure on drug metabolism and how this may affect the dosing of antimalarial drugs for treatment and prevention during infancy. TRIAL REGISTRATION:ClinicalTrials.gov number NCT02163447.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Placental malaria is associated with increased risk of adverse perinatal outcomes. While primigravidity has been reported as a risk factor for placental malaria, little is known regarding the relationship between gravidity, symptomatology and timing of Plasmodium falciparum infection and the development of placental malaria. METHODS:The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between the development of placental malaria and gravidity, timing of infection, and presence of symptoms. This is a secondary analysis of data from a double-blind randomized control trial of intermittent preventive therapy during pregnancy in Uganda. Women were enrolled from 12 to 20 weeks gestation and followed through delivery. Exposure to malaria parasites was defined as symptomatic (fever with positive blood smear) or asymptomatic (based on molecular detection of parasitaemia done routinely every 4 weeks). The primary outcome was placental malaria diagnosed by histopathology, placental blood smear, and/or placental blood loop-mediated isothermal amplification. Multivariate analyses were performed using logistic regression models. Subgroup analysis was performed based on the presence of symptomatic malaria, gravidity, and timing of infection. RESULTS:Of the 228 patients with documented maternal infection with malaria parasites during pregnancy, 101 (44.3%) had placental malaria. Primigravidity was strongly associated with placental malaria (aOR 8.90, 95% CI 4.34-18.2, p?<?0.001), and each episode of malaria was associated with over a twofold increase in placental malaria (aOR 2.35, 95% CI 1.69-3.26, p?<?0.001). Among multigravid women, the odds of placental malaria increased by 14% with each advancing week of gestation at first documented infection (aOR 1.14, 95% CI 1.02-1.27, p?=?0.02). When stratified by the presence of symptoms, primigravidity was only associated with placental malaria in asymptomatic women, who had a 12-fold increase in the odds of placental malaria (aOR 12.19, 95% CI 5.23-28.43, p?<?0.001). CONCLUSIONS:Total number of P. falciparum infections in pregnancy is a significant predictor of placental malaria. The importance of timing of infection on the development of placental malaria varies based on gravidity. In primigravidas, earlier asymptomatic infections were more frequently identified in those with placental malaria, whereas in multigravidas, parasitaemias detected later in gestation were associated with placental malaria. Earlier initiation of an effective intermittent preventive therapy may help to prevent placental malaria and improve birth outcomes, particularly in primigravid women.
Project description:Risk of malaria in infants can be influenced by prenatal factors. In this study, the potential for placental parasitemia at delivery in predicting susceptibility of infants to Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) infections was evaluated. Seventy-two newborns of mothers who were placental malaria negative (PM-) and of mothers who were PM+?with below (PM+?Lo) and above (PM?+?Hi) median placental parasitemia, were actively monitored during their first year of life. Median time to first PCR-detected Pf infection was shorter in PM?+?Lo infants (2.8 months) than in both PM- infants (4.0 months, p?=?0.002) and PM?+?Hi infants (4.1 months, p?=?0.01). Total number of new infections was also highest in the PM?+?Lo group. Only 24% of infants experienced clinical malaria episodes but these episodes occurred earlier in PM?+?Lo infants than in PM?+?Hi infants (p?=?0.05). The adjusted hazard ratio (95% CI) of having Pf infection was 3.9 (1.8-8.4) and 1.5 (0.7-3.4) for infants in the PM?+?Lo and PM?+?Hi groups, respectively. Collectively, low placental parasitemia was associated with increased susceptibility to malaria during infancy. Therefore, malaria in pregnancy preventive regimens, such as sulfadoxine-pyremethamine, that reduce but do not eliminate placental Pf in areas of drug resistance may increase the risk of malaria in infants.
Project description:Plasmodium falciparum infected erythrocytes (IE) accumulate in the placenta through the interaction between Duffy-binding like (DBL) domains of parasite-encoded ligand VAR2CSA and chondroitin sulphate-A (CSA) receptor. Polymorphisms in these domains, including DBL2X and DBL3X, may affect their antigenicity or CSA-binding affinity, eventually increasing parasitemia and its adverse effects on pregnancy outcomes. A total of 373 DBL2X and 328 DBL3X sequences were obtained from transcripts of 20 placental isolates infecting Mozambican women, resulting in 176 DBL2X and 191 DBL3X unique sequences at the protein level. Sequence alignments were divided in segments containing combinations of correlated polymorphisms and the association of segment sequences with placental parasite density was tested using Bonferroni corrected regression models, taking into consideration the weight of each sequence in the infection. Three DBL2X and three DBL3X segments contained signatures of high parasite density (P<0.003) that were highly prevalent in the parasite population (49-91%). Identified regions included a flexible loop that contributes to DBL3X-CSA interaction and two DBL3X motifs with evidence of positive natural selection. Limited antibody responses against signatures of high parasite density among malaria-exposed pregnant women could not explain the increased placental parasitemia. These results suggest that a higher binding efficiency to CSA rather than reduced antigenicity might provide a biological advantage to parasites with high parasite density signatures in VAR2CSA. Sequences contributing to high parasitemia may be critical for the functional characterization of VAR2CSA and the development of tools against placental malaria.
Project description:Zanzibar has transitioned from malaria control to the pre-elimination phase, and the continued need for intermittent preventive treatment during pregnancy (IPTp) has been questioned. We conducted a prospective observational study to estimate placental malaria positivity rate among women who did not receive IPTp with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine. A convenience sample of pregnant women was enrolled from six clinics on the day of delivery from August of 2011 to September of 2012. Dried placental blood spot specimens were analyzed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR); 9 of 1,349 specimens (0.7%; precision estimate = 0.2-1.1%) were PCR-positive for Plasmodium falciparum. Placental infection was detected on both Pemba (N = 3) and Unguja (N = 6). Placental malaria positivity in Zanzibar was low, even in the absence of IPTp. It may be reasonable for the Ministry of Health to consider discontinuing IPTp, intensifying surveillance efforts, and promoting insecticide-treated nets and effective case management of malaria in pregnancy.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The efficacy of intermittent preventive treatment for malaria with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (IPTp-SP) in pregnancy is threatened in parts of Africa by the emergence and spread of resistance to SP. Intermittent screening with a rapid diagnostic test (RDT) and treatment of positive women (ISTp) is an alternative approach. METHODS AND FINDINGS:An open, individually randomized, non-inferiority trial of IPTp-SP versus ISTp was conducted in 5,354 primi- or secundigravidae in four West African countries with a low prevalence of resistance to SP (The Gambia, Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana). Women in the IPTp-SP group received SP on two or three occasions whilst women in the ISTp group were screened two or three times with a RDT and treated if positive for malaria with artemether-lumefantrine (AL). ISTp-AL was non-inferior to IPTp-SP in preventing low birth weight (LBW), anemia and placental malaria, the primary trial endpoints. The prevalence of LBW was 15.1% and 15.6% in the IPTp-SP and ISTp-AL groups respectively (OR = 1.03 [95% CI: 0.88, 1.22]). The mean hemoglobin concentration at the last clinic attendance before delivery was 10.97g/dL and 10.94g/dL in the IPTp-SP and ISTp-AL groups respectively (mean difference: -0.03 g/dL [95% CI: -0.13, +0.06]). Active malaria infection of the placenta was found in 24.5% and in 24.2% of women in the IPTp-SP and ISTp-AL groups respectively (OR = 0.95 [95% CI 0.81, 1.12]). More women in the ISTp-AL than in the IPTp-SP group presented with malaria parasitemia between routine antenatal clinics (310 vs 182 episodes, rate difference: 49.4 per 1,000 pregnancies [95% CI 30.5, 68.3], but the number of hospital admissions for malaria was similar in the two groups. CONCLUSIONS:Despite low levels of resistance to SP in the study areas, ISTp-AL performed as well as IPTp-SP. In the absence of an effective alternative medication to SP for IPTp, ISTp-AL is a potential alternative to IPTp in areas where SP resistance is high. It may also have a role in areas where malaria transmission is low and for the prevention of malaria in HIV positive women receiving cotrimoxazole prophylaxis in whom SP is contraindicated. TRIAL REGISTRATION:ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01084213 Pan African Clinical trials Registry PACT201202000272122.
Project description:Background:We investigated whether adding community scheduled malaria screening and treatment (CSST) with artemether-lumefantrine by community health workers (CHWs) to standard intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (IPTp-SP) would improve maternal and infant health. Methods:In this 2-arm cluster-randomized, controlled trial, villages in Burkina Faso, The Gambia, and Benin were randomized to receive CSST plus IPTp-SP or IPTp-SP alone. CHWs in the intervention arm performed monthly CSST during pregnancy. At each contact, filter paper and blood slides were collected, and at delivery, a placental biopsy was collected. Primary and secondary endpoints were the prevalence of placental malaria, maternal anemia, maternal peripheral infection, low birth weight, antenatal clinic (ANC) attendance, and IPTp-SP coverage. Results:Malaria infection was detected at least once for 3.8% women in The Gambia, 16.9% in Benin, and 31.6% in Burkina Faso. There was no difference between study arms in terms of placenta malaria after adjusting for birth season, parity, and IPTp-SP doses (adjusted odds ratio, 1.06 [95% confidence interval, .78-1.44]; P = .72). No difference between the study arms was found for peripheral maternal infection, anemia, and adverse pregnancy outcomes. ANC attendance was significantly higher in the intervention arm in Burkina Faso but not in The Gambia and Benin. Increasing number of IPTp-SP doses was associated with a significantly lower risk of placenta malaria, anemia at delivery, and low birth weight. Conclusions:Adding CSST to existing IPTp-SP strategies did not reduce malaria in pregnancy. Increasing the number of IPTp-SP doses given during pregnancy is a priority. Clinical Trials Registration:NCT01941264; ISRCTN37259296.