Diagnostics for glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency
Advancing new diagnostics to detect a common hereditary enzyme deficiency that complicates treatment for malaria
G6PD deficiency and P. vivax malaria
Malaria is a serious and even deadly disease spread by mosquitoes. As many as 2.85 billion people are estimated to be at risk of Plasmodium vivax malaria, a form common in Asia, Latin America, and East Africa. P. vivax is the most difficult form of malaria to eliminate because it causes recurring illness, which perpetuates the cycle of infection. All malaria parasites in the body must be killed to stop this cycle. This is known as radical cure.
Currently, radical cure for P. vivax malaria can only be achieved with primaquine, an 8-aminoquinoline-based drug. But this class of drug can cause potentially lethal side effects in people with a common deficiency of an enzyme known as glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD). Therefore, it is critical for all patients to be tested for G6PD deficiency before they are treated with primaquine.
Providing safe treatment, accelerating elimination
Existing diagnostics for G6PD deficiency are not sufficient to support scaling up of treatment of P. vivax. A point-of-care diagnostic tool for G6PD deficiency is needed to enable safe treatment of patients with P. vivax malaria and accelerate elimination of the disease.
PATH and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) are collaborating to accelerate the development of tests for G6PD deficiency. These tests will help support implementation of treatment using primaquine and also tafenoquine, an investigational 8-aminoquinoline-based drug that is currently under development by GSK and Medicines for Malaria Venture.
Learn more about PATH’s G6PD diagnostics work
News and media
- Announcement – PATH and GSK partner to develop G6PD diagnostic
- Press release – Department for International Development (UK) award
- Comparison of quantitative and qualitative tests for glucose-6-phosphate
- Cryopreservation of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase activity inside red blood cells: developing a specimen repository in support of development and evaluation of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency tests
- G6PD testing in support of treatment and elimination of malaria: recommendations for evaluation of G6PD tests
Posters and presentations
- Implementing interactive geospatial tools in R for cost analysis of diagnostic platforms for G6PD deficiency
- Evaluation of diagnostic platforms for G6PD deficiency
- Maintaining specimen integrity for screening G6PD activity
- Development of new modeling tools to improve determination of G6PD status
- Review of key knowledge gaps in glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency detection with regard to the safe clinical deployment of 8-aminoquinoline treatment regimens
Gonzalo Domingo, Project Lead
This project is supported by grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Department for International Development.