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Army Developing Implantable Sustained-Release Malaria Countermeasure

Malaria Infected Red Blood Cells

The Experimental Therapeutics (ET) Branch of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) focuses on the development of new drugs to prevent and treat malaria, leishmaniosis, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and other infectious disease threats to US Service members.

The ET branch is currently attempting to develop anti-malaria prophylactic drug infused implantable matrices that have sustained release.

On behalf of WRAIR, the U.S. Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity (USAMRAA) has announced intentions to negotiate a sole source contract with the Southwest Research Institute for the production of customized subdermal implants with a specific combination of a drug of choice and ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) copolymer using the patented technology ProNeura.

The combination of atovaquone/proguanil (Malarone®) and doxycycline are the only FDA-approved prophylactic drugs for malaria prevention. Because of the relatively short half-lives of the drugs, successful prevention of malaria is highly dependent on compliance with a daily oral dosing regimen.

The FDA approved long-term drug delivery platform, ProNeura, is a matrix of EVA which is readily available to modify this drug administration schedule. By incorporating long term release of FDA-approved antimalarial drugs in a drug matrix of EVA, drug rods can be implanted in service members, which frees the deployed service members from adhering to a daily oral drug dosing schedule and should protect from malaria for the entire deployment after implant insertion.

The combination of atovaquone/proguanil and doxycycline in subdermal implant form will be tested for long-term prophylactic efficacy to replace the current orally administered drug regimens.


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