The medication primaquine can help eliminate the malaria vector Plasmodium Vivax, according to a study published on Friday in Malaria Journal.
Persistent P. vivax liver stages can be eliminated through "radical treatment" with a seven-day regimen of 8-aminoquinoline. The medication has a risk of acute hemolytic anemia in people who have a deficiency of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase.
Primaquine is the only generally available 8-aminoquinoline, but is not often prescribed because testing for the G6PD deficiency is not readily available.
Some countries working toward malaria eradication used mass treatments of primaquine without prior testing for G6PD. The practice was common in Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, North Afghanistan and DPR Korea, where 8.2 million people received a 14-day or 17-day treatment to control malaria epidemics.
The reported occurrence of severe negative effects of primaquine was low, according to the study's researchers, despite estimated prevalence of G6PD of approximately 38.7 percent.
Researchers said this practice shows that planning and implementation of mass treatment of primaquine and medical support can be effective in reducing the transmission of malaria and manage the risk of hemolytic anemia.