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Utility of ultra-sensitive qPCR to detect Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax infections under different transmission intensities

Gruenberg, Maria and Moniz, Clara Antunes and Hofmann, Natalie E. and Koepfli, Cristian and Robinson, Leanne J. and Nate, Elma and Monteiro, Wuelton Marcelo and de Melo, Gisely Cardoso and Kuehn, Andrea and Siqueira, Andre M. and Nguitragool, Wang and Bassat, Quique and Lacerda, Marcus and Sattabongkot, Jetsumon and Mueller, Ivo and Felger, Ingrid. (2020) Utility of ultra-sensitive qPCR to detect Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax infections under different transmission intensities. Malaria journal, 19. p. 319.

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Abstract

The use of molecular diagnostics has revealed an unexpectedly large number of asymptomatic low-density malaria infections in many malaria endemic areas. This study compared the gains in parasite prevalence obtained by the use of ultra-sensitive (us)-qPCR as compared to standard qPCR in cross-sectional surveys conducted in Thailand, Brazil and Papua New Guinea (PNG). The compared assays differed in the copy number of qPCR targets in the parasite genome.; Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) and Plasmodium vivax (Pv) parasites were quantified by qPCR amplifying the low-copy Pf_ and Pv_18S rRNA genes or the multi-copy targets Pf_varATS and Pv_mtCOX1. Cross-sectional surveys at the three study sites included 2252 participants of all ages and represented different transmission intensities.; In the two low-transmission areas, P. falciparum positivity was 1.3% (10/773) (Thailand) and 0.8% (5/651) (Brazil) using standard Pf_18S rRNA qPCR. In these two countries, P. falciparum positivity by Pf_varATS us-qPCR increased to 1.9% (15/773) and 1.7% (11/651). In PNG, an area with moderate transmission intensity, P. falciparum positivity significantly increased from 8.6% (71/828) by standard qPCR to 12.2% (101/828) by us-qPCR. The proportions of P. falciparum infections not detected by standard qPCR were 33%, 55% and 30% in Thailand, Brazil and PNG. Plasmodium vivax was the predominating species in Thailand and Brazil, with 3.9% (30/773) and 4.9% (32/651) positivity by Pv_18S rRNA qPCR. In PNG, P. vivax positivity was similar to P. falciparum, at 8.0% (66/828). Use of Pv_mtCOX1 us-qPCR led to a significant increase in positivity to 5.1% (39/773), 6.4% (42/651) and 11.5% (95/828) in Thailand, Brazil, and PNG. The proportions of P. vivax infections missed by standard qPCR were similar at all three sites, with 23%, 24% and 31% in Thailand, Brazil and PNG.; The proportional gains in the detection of P. falciparum and P. vivax infections by ultra-sensitive diagnostic assays were substantial at all three study sites. Thus, us-qPCR yields more precise prevalence estimates for both P. falciparum and P. vivax at all studied levels of endemicity and represents a significant diagnostic improvement. Improving sensitivity in P. vivax surveillance by us-qPCR is of particular benefit, because the additionally detected P. vivax infections signal the potential presence of hypnozoites and subsequent risk of relapse and further transmission.
Faculties and Departments:09 Associated Institutions > Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH)
09 Associated Institutions > Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) > Former Units within Swiss TPH > Molecular Diagnostics (Felger)
09 Associated Institutions > Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) > Former Units within Swiss TPH > Molecular Parasitology and Epidemiology (Beck)
UniBasel Contributors:Gr├╝nberg, Maria and Antunes Moniz, Clara and Hofmann, Natalie and Felger, Ingrid
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
ISSN:1475-2875
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
Language:English
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Last Modified:16 Dec 2022 12:01
Deposited On:16 Dec 2022 12:01

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