But one of the greatest challenges was a scientific hurdle.
Tafenoquine is a member of the same chemical family as primaquine, which is associated with a side-effect that can lead to a break-down of red blood cells in some patients who lack adequate levels of an enzyme called glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD). This can lead to many health problems such as tiredness, fever, dizziness, shortness of breath and rapid heart rate.
To address this issue, we’ve been working with PATH, a global health organisation, to develop a new point of care diagnostic test so that a patient’s G6PD status can be tested to determine if tafenoquine can be safely administered.
Our goal is for this field-ready diagnostic test to be available at the same time as the potential availability of tafenoquine in malaria-endemic countries.
What’s next for you and the team?
It has been an amazing journey to see this programme gather pace. The use of single-dose tafenoquine has been approved for use in the US marking it as the first treatment for prevention of relapse in P. vivax malaria in more than 60 years. We now await the outcome of another regulatory application which, if approved, will support registration in malaria endemic countries.
Collaboration is key to our efforts in tackling the global challenge of malaria. The expertise and networks provided by our partner MMV has been critical to this achievement.