Malaria remains the top infectious disease threat facing the U.S. military in many forward operating environments. Compliance with malaria chemoprophylaxis remains a critical component in preventing malaria in the deployed Service Member. Studies of previous military operations show that compliance is consistently higher with weekly versus daily dosing regimens. Current FDA approved weekly chemoprophylaxis options have contraindications that can limit prescribing. The combination of chloroquine (CQ) with azithromycin (AZ) has previously been shown to be an efficacious treatment option for malaria, has pharmacokinetics compatible with weekly dosing, and has shown synergy when combined in vitro.
Combination therapy using drugs with different mechanisms of action is the current state of the art in antimalarial treatment. However, except for artemisinin-based combination therapies, only few other combinations are available now. The increasing concern on the emergence and spread of artemisinin resistance in Plasmodium falciparum has evoked a need for the development of new antimalarials.
Reductions in malaria morbidity have been reported following azithromycin mass drug administration (MDA) for trachoma. The recent MORDOR trial reported a reduction in child mortality following biannual azithromycin MDA. Here, we investigate the effects of azithromycin MDA on malaria at the MORDOR-Malawi study site. A cluster-randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial, with 15 clusters per arm, was conducted. House-to-house census was updated biannually, and azithromycin or placebo syrup was distributed to children aged 1–59 months for a total of four biannual distributions.
Mass administration of azithromycin has reduced mortality in children in sub‐Saharan Africa but its mode of action is not well characterised. A recent trial found that azithromycin given alongside seasonal malaria chemoprevention was not associated with a reduction in mortality or hospital admissions in young children. We investigated the effect of azithromycin on the nutritional status of children enrolled in this study.
The relationship between malaria and malnutrition is complicated, and existence of one may predispose or exacerbate the other. We evaluated the relationship between malaria parasitemia and nutritional status in children living in communities participating in a cluster-randomized trial of biannual azithromycin compared with placebo for prevention of childhood mortality. Data were collected during the low malaria transmission and low food insecurity season.