Antimalarials for children with Plasmodium vivax infection: Current status, challenges, and research priorities

Parasitol Int. 2022 Apr;87:102512. doi: 10.1016/j.parint.2021.102512. Epub 2021 Nov 14.


The aim of this narrative review is to summarise efficacy and pharmacokinetic data for Plasmodium vivax in children. The burden of P. vivax malaria in children continues to remain a significant public health issue, and the need for improved treatment regimens for this vulnerable population is critical. Relapse after re-activation of dormant liver-stage hypnozoites poses additional challenges for treatment, elimination, and control strategies for P. vivax. Whilst it is recognised that paediatric pharmacology may be significantly influenced by anatomical and physiological changes of childhood, dosing regimens often continue to be extrapolated from adult data, highlighting the need for antimalarial dosing in children to be evaluated in early phase clinical trials. This will ensure that globally recommended treatment regimens do not result in suboptimal dosing in children. Furthermore, the development of affordable paediatric formulations to enhance treatment acceptability and widespread G6PD testing to facilitate use of anti-hypnozoite treatment such as primaquine and tafenoquine, should be further prioritised. As the world prepares for malaria elimination, a renewed focus on P. vivax malaria provides an ideal opportunity to harness momentum and ensure that all populations, including children have access to safe, efficacious, and correctly dosed antimalarial therapies.

Keywords: Artemisinin combination therapy; Paediatrics; Pharmacokinetics; Pharmacotherapy; Plasmodium vivax; Primaquine, chloroquine, tafenoquine.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antimalarials / pharmacology
  • Antimalarials / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Malaria, Vivax / diagnosis
  • Malaria, Vivax / drug therapy*
  • Malaria, Vivax / prevention & control
  • Plasmodium vivax / drug effects
  • Research


  • Antimalarials