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BackgroundRelapse infections resulting from the activation hypnozoites produced by Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium ovale represent an important obstacle to the successful control of these species. A single licensed drug, primaquine is available to eliminate these liver dormant forms. To date, investigations of vivax relapse infections have been few in number.ResultsGenotyping, based on polymorphic regions of two genes (Pvmsp1F3 and Pvcsp) and four microsatellite markers (MS3.27, MS3.502, MS6 and MS8), of 12 paired admission and relapse samples from P. vivax-infected patients were treated with primaquine, revealed that in eight of the parasite populations in the admission and relapse samples were homologous, and heterologous in the remaining four patients. The patients' CYP2D6 genotypes did not suggest that any were poor metabolisers of primaquine. Parasitaemia tended to be higher in the heterologous as compared to the homologous relapse episodes as was the IgG3 response. For the twelve pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokine levels measured for all samples, only those of IL-6 and IL-10 tended to be higher in patients with heterologous as compared to homologous relapses in both admission and relapse episodes.ConclusionsThe data from this limited number of patients with confirmed relapse episodes mirror previous observations of a significant proportion of heterologous parasites in relapses of P. vivax infections in Thailand. Failure of the primaquine treatment that the patients received is unlikely to be due to poor drug metabolism, and could indicate the presence of P. vivax populations in Thailand with poor susceptibility to 8-aminoquinolines.

Original publication





Malaria journal

Publication Date





Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, 420/6 Rajvithi Road, Bangkok, 10400, Thailand.


Humans, Plasmodium vivax, Malaria, Vivax, Recurrence, Primaquine, Antimalarials, Cohort Studies, Follow-Up Studies, Drug Resistance, Genotype, Adolescent, Adult, Middle Aged, Thailand, Young Adult