Combination malaria therapy shows success against P. vivax and P. falciparum

Malaria infection in infants could be cut by up to 30 percent with a combination anti-malarial treatment given intermittently over a year-long period.

A three year trial conducted in Papua New Guinea demonstrated that a new drug regimen was effective against both of the major malaria strains. The study is the first of its kind to find an effective treatment against Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax, according to

The regime, called intermittent preventative treatment, protected infants against malaria for up to six weeks after it concluded, and was not shown to hinder the development of natural immunity.

The study's lead author, Professor Ivo Mueller from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute's Infection and Immunity division, said that the positive findings could lead to trials in other regions where malaria is endemic, including South-East Asia and South America, where P. vivax is a major concern.

"Plasmodium vivax is the main cause of clinical malaria in infants outside of Africa," Professor Mueller said, reports. "What this study has shown is that IPT can be useful in regions other than sub-Saharan Africa, that it can be an effective tool against P. vivax, and reaffirms that we need to effectively tailor preventive drugs to different malaria species in different regions."

IPT, which has been used with some effect in sub-Saharan Africa, utilizes short courses of combined medications to stimulate an immune response.

"IPT is a cheap and easy way to decrease the burden of malaria in those most susceptible to clinical illness, such as young infants and pregnant women," Mueller said, according to