High proportion of genome-wide homology and increased pre-treatment pvcrt levels in Plasmodium vivax late recurrences: a chloroquine therapeutic efficacy study

Eduard Rovira-Vallbona, Nguyen Van Hong, Johanna H Kattenberg, Ro Mah Huan, Nguyen Thi Huong Binh, Nguyen Thi Hong Ngọc, Pieter Guetens, Nguyen Luong Hieu, Nguyen Thị Thu Hien, Vu Thi Sang, Nguyen Duc Long, Erin Sauve, Tran Thanh Duong, Nguyen Xuan Xa, Annette Erhart, Anna Rosanas-Urgell

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Chloroquine (CQ) is the first-line treatment for Plasmodium vivax malaria in most countries where malaria is endemic. Monitoring P. vivax CQ resistance (CQR) is critical but remains challenged by the difficulty to distinguish real treatment failure from reinfection or liver relapse. The therapeutic efficacy of CQ against uncomplicated P. vivax malaria was evaluated in Gia Lai Province, Vietnam. Sixty-seven patients were enrolled and followed for 42 days using microscopy and quantitative PCR. Adequate clinical and parasitological response (ACPR) was 100% (66/66) on day 28 but 75.4% (49/65) on day 42. Eighteen recurrences (27.7%) were detected, with a median time to recurrence of 42 days (interquartile range [IQR], 35 to 42) and blood CQ concentration of <100 ng/ml. Primary infections leading to recurrence occurred in younger individuals (median age for ACPR = 25 years [IQR, 20 to 28]; recurrences = 18 [16 to 21]; P  = 0.002) had a longer parasite clearance time (PCT for ACPR  =  47.5 h [IQR, 36.2 to 59.8 h]; recurrences = 54.2 [48.4 to 62.0]; P  = 0.035) and higher pvcrt gene expression (median relative expression ratio for ACPR  =  0.09 [IQR, 0.05 to 0.22]; recurrences = 0.20 [0.15 to 0.56]; P  = 0.002), but showed no differences in ex vivo CQ sensitivity. Parasite genotyping by microsatellites, single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) barcoding, and whole-genome sequencing (WGS) identified a majority of homologous recurrences, with 80% (8/10) showing >98% identity by descent to paired day 0 samples. This study shows that CQ remained largely efficacious to treat P. vivax in Gia Lai; i.e., recurrences occurred late (>day 28) and in the presence of low blood CQ concentrations. However, the combination of both WGS and gene expression analysis ( pvcrt) data with clinical data (PCT) allowed us to identify potential emergence of low-grade CQR, which should be closely monitored. (This study has been registered at ClinicalTrials.gov under identifier NCT02610686.).

Original languageEnglish
JournalAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)e0009521
Number of pages45
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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