Tafenoquine for the prophylaxis, treatment and elimination of malaria: eagerness must meet prudence.

09 Oct 2019
Val, F., F. T. Costa, L. King, J. D. Brito-Sousa, Q. Bassat, W. M. Monteiro, A. M. Siqueira, L. Luzzatto and M. V. Lacerda (2019)

Malaria puts more than 3 billion people at risk of infection and causes high morbidity and mortality. Plasmodium vivax forms hypnozoites, which may initiate recurrences, even in the absence of reinfection or superinfection. Until recently, the only drug available for eliminating hypnozoites was primaquine (PQ), which, given its short half-life, requires a relatively long course of treatment. Tafenoquine (TQ) is a PQ analog with a longer half-life. This enables radical cure of malaria with a single dose and overcomes adherence issues associated with PQ, thereby increasing effectiveness in real-life settings. Clinical studies have provided sound evidence for TQ's safety and efficacy against malaria, which recently led to its approval by the US FDA. Here, we review aspects of TQ, including how to avoid hemolytic anemia in G6PD deficient patients. We believe that TQ promises to be a major advance toward malaria elimination.