Several Plasmodium species cause malaria and they respond differently to antimalarial drugs. In regions with drug-resistant malaria, the World Health Organization recommends artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) as first-line treatment; however, the optimal combination is unclear in regions where facilities for species-specific diagnosis are limited.
According to findings reported in PLOS Medicine
(online, 30 December 2014), artemisinin-naphthoquine (three daily doses) is a viable alternative to the current standard of care – artemether-lumefantrine (six doses over three days) – in children with uncomplicated malaria in Papua New Guinea. The experimental combination was non-inferior to artemether-lumefantrine against falciparum malaria and significantly more effective against vivax malaria.
“Artemisinin-naphthoquine should be considered alongside other ACTs for the treatment of uncomplicated malaria in regions where there is transmission of multiple Plasmodium species,” say the researchers.
 Laman M, Moore BR, Benjamin JM et al. Artemisinin-naphthoquine versus artemether-lumefantrine for uncomplicated malaria in Papua New Guinean children: an open-label randomized trial. PLoS Medicine 2014; 11(12): e1001773. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001773.