Inhaled nitric oxide for the adjunctive therapy of severe malaria: Protocol for a randomized controlled trial

Michael Hawkes, Robert Opoka, Sophie Namasopo, Christopher Miller, Kevin E. Thorpe, James V. Lavery, Andrea L. Conroy, W Conrad Liles, Chandy C. John, Kevin C. Kain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background

Severe malaria remains a major cause of global morbidity and mortality. Despite the use of potent anti-parasitic agents, the mortality rate in severe malaria remains high. Adjunctive therapies that target the underlying pathophysiology of severe malaria may further reduce morbidity and mortality. Endothelial activation plays a central role in the pathogenesis of severe malaria, of which angiopoietin-2 (Ang-2) has recently been shown to function as a key regulator. Nitric oxide (NO) is a major inhibitor of Ang-2 release from endothelium and has been shown to decrease endothelial inflammation and reduce the adhesion of parasitized erythrocytes. Low-flow inhaled nitric oxide (iNO) gas is a US FDA-approved treatment for hypoxic respiratory failure in neonates.

Methods/Design

This prospective, parallel arm, randomized, placebo-controlled, blinded clinical trial compares adjunctive continuous inhaled nitric oxide at 80 ppm to placebo (both arms receiving standard anti-malarial therapy), among Ugandan children aged 1-10 years of age with severe malaria. The primary endpoint is the longitudinal change in Ang-2, an objective and quantitative biomarker of malaria severity, which will be analysed using a mixed-effects linear model. Secondary endpoints include mortality, recovery time, parasite clearance and neurocognitive sequelae.

Discussion

Noteworthy aspects of this trial design include its efficient sample size supported by a computer simulation study to evaluate statistical power, meticulous attention to complex ethical issues in a cross-cultural setting, and innovative strategies for safety monitoring and blinding to treatment allocation in a resource-constrained setting in sub-Saharan Africa.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
JournalPaediatrics and Child Health, East Africa
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jul 2011

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