X-linked glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency is the most common human enzymopathy. The severe Mediterranean variant (G6PD Med) found across Europe and Asia is thought to confer protection against malaria, but its effect is unclear. We fitted a Bayesian statistical model to observed G6PD Med allele frequencies in 999 Pashtun patients presenting with acute Plasmodium vivax malaria and 1408 population controls.
Primaquine and tafenoquine are the two 8-aminoquinoline (8-AQ) antimalarial drugs approved for malarial radical cure - the elimination of liver stage hypnozoites after infection with Plasmodium vivax. A single oral dose of tafenoquine leads to high efficacy against intra-hepatocyte hypnozoiites after efficient first pass liver uptake and metabolism. Unfortunately, both drugs cause hemolytic anemia in G6PD-deficient humans. This toxicity prevents their mass administration without G6PD testing given the approximately 400 million G6PD deficient people across malarial endemic regions of the world.