Mass campaigns with antimalarial drugs: a modelling comparison of artemether-lumefantrine and DHA-piperaquine with and without primaquine as tools for malaria control and elimination

March 22, 2015


A previously established agent-based model that includes innate and adaptive immunity was used to simulate malaria infections and transmission. Pharmacokinetics of artemether, lumefantrine, dihydroartemisinin, piperaquine, and primaquine were modelled with a double-exponential distribution-elimination model including weight-dependent parameters and age-dependent dosing. Drug killing of asexual parasites and gametocytes was calibrated to clinical data. Mass distribution of ACTs and primaquine was simulated with seasonal mosquito dynamics at a range of transmission intensities.

Modelling pharmacokinetics (PK) of antimalarial drugs

We implemented a simplified PK for five antimalarials—artemether (AM), lumefantrine (LF), dihydroartemisinin (DHA), piperaquine (PPQ), and primaquine (PQ)—with a single or double exponential to model drug distribution and elimination



Conclusions: Mass administration of antimalarial drugs can be a powerful tool to reduce prevalence for a few months post-campaign. A slow-decaying prophylactic administered with a parasite-clearing drug offers strong protection against reinfection, especially in highly endemic areas. Transmission-blocking drugs have only limited effects unless administered with a prophylactic under very high coverage.