After 18 months of careful preparation, MAMAH has started to recruit the first participants of a clinical trial that will help improve malaria prevention among HIV- infected pregnant women. The clinical trial, led by ISGlobal and funded by the European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP), plans to recruit 664 seropositive pregnant women over a period of two years in Gabon and Mozambique – two countries with a moderate to high prevalence of malaria and HIV -in order to assess the safety and efficacy of the antimalarial drug dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DHA-PPQ) in this population.
To prevent malaria during pregnancy, the WHO recommends intermittent preventive treatment (IPTp) with sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP). However, this antimalarial drug cannot be given to individuals that take cotrimoxazole, a prophylactic antibiotic that is recommended for HIV-infected individuals together with antiretroviral drugs. “We are confronted with a public health paradox, since those most vulnerable to malaria, HIV-infected pregnant women, cannot receive the recommended preventive treatment,” explains Raquel González, technical coordinator of the project. The goal of the project, coordinated by Clara Menéndez, is to find alternative drugs that can protect this population. The clinical trial results are expected to guide future health care strategies in sub-Saharan Africa.
The other partners of the MAMAH consortium are the Centre de Recherches Médicales de Lambaréné (CERMEL Gabon), the Manhiça Health Research Centre/ Manhiça Foundation (CISM/FM Mozambique), the Medical University of Vienna (MedUni Wien, Austria), the Bernhard Nocht Institut für Tropenmedizin (BNITM, Germany), and the Eberhard Karls Universitaet Tuebingen (EKUT, Germany).