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Intermittent presumptive treatment for malaria: a better understanding of the pharmacodynamics will guide more rational policymaking

The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine's Gates MalariaIntermittent Presumptive Treatment (IPT) is a recently developed strategy for preventing sickness and death from severe malaria. It involves giving a curative treatment dose of an effective anti-malarial drug at predefined intervals to pregnant women and infants. In this article, Nick White, director of the Wellcome Trust South East Asia Programme in Thailand and Vietnam, and advisor on SciDev.Net's malaria dossier argues that to guide policymakers on promoting and implementing IPT, more information is needed on how it works. White uses some technical terms but expresses clearly his concerns about issues such as how long drugs remain effective after each treatment, as this determines whether IPT can ward off or suppress new infections. He also discusses parasite resistance to drugs currently used in IPT and the rationale for using new antimalarial drugs.

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