• Improving the Specificity of Plasmodium falciparum Malaria Diagnosis in High-Transmission Settings with a Two-Step Rapid Diagnostic Test and Microscopy Algorithm

      Murungi, M; Fulton, T; Reyes, R; Matte, M; Ntaro, M; Mulogo, E; Nyehangane, D; Juliano, J; Siedner, M; Boum, Y; et al. (American Society for Microbiology, 2017-05)
      Poor specificity may negatively impact rapid diagnostic test (RDT)-based diagnostic strategies for malaria. We performed real-time PCR on a subset of subjects who had undergone diagnostic testing with a multiple-antigen (histidine-rich protein 2 and pan-lactate dehydrogenase pLDH [HRP2/pLDH]) RDT and microscopy. We determined the sensitivity and specificity of the RDT in comparison to results of PCR for the detection of Plasmodium falciparum malaria. We developed and evaluated a two-step algorithm utilizing the multiple-antigen RDT to screen patients, followed by confirmatory microscopy for those individuals with HRP2-positive (HRP2+)/pLDH-negative (pLDH-) results. In total, dried blood spots (DBS) were collected from 276 individuals. There were 124 (44.9%) individuals with an HRP2+/pLDH+ result, 94 (34.1%) with an HRP2+/pLDH- result, and 58 (21%) with a negative RDT result. The sensitivity and specificity of the RDT compared to results with real-time PCR were 99.4% (95% confidence interval [CI], 95.9 to 100.0%) and 46.7% (95% CI, 37.7 to 55.9%), respectively. Of the 94 HRP2+/pLDH- results, only 32 (34.0%) and 35 (37.2%) were positive by microscopy and PCR, respectively. The sensitivity and specificity of the two-step algorithm compared to results with real-time PCR were 95.5% (95% CI, 90.5 to 98.0%) and 91.0% (95% CI, 84.1 to 95.2), respectively. HRP2 antigen bands demonstrated poor specificity for the diagnosis of malaria compared to that of real-time PCR in a high-transmission setting. The most likely explanation for this finding is the persistence of HRP2 antigenemia following treatment of an acute infection. The two-step diagnostic algorithm utilizing microscopy as a confirmatory test for indeterminate HRP2+/pLDH- results showed significantly improved specificity with little loss of sensitivity in a high-transmission setting.
    • In vivo assessment of drug efficacy against Plasmodium falciparum malaria: duration of follow-up.

      Stepniewska, K; Taylor, W R J; Mayxay, M; Price, R; Smithuis, F; Guthmann, J P; Barnes, K; Myint, H Y; Adjuik, M; Olliaro, P; et al. (2004-11)
      To determine the optimum duration of follow-up for the assessment of drug efficacy against Plasmodium falciparum malaria, 96 trial arms from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) with follow-up of 28 days or longer that were conducted between 1990 and 2003 were analyzed. These trials enrolled 13,772 patients, and participating patients comprised 23% of all patients enrolled in RCTs over the past 40 years; 61 (64%) trial arms were conducted in areas where the rate of malaria transmission was low, and 58 (50%) trial arms were supported by parasite genotyping to distinguish true recrudescences from reinfections. The median overall failure rate reported was 10% (range, 0 to 47%). The widely used day 14 assessment had a sensitivity of between 0 and 37% in identifying treatment failures and had no predictive value. Assessment at day 28 had a sensitivity of 66% overall (28 to 100% in individual trials) but could be used to predict the true failure rate if either parasite genotyping was performed (r(2) = 0.94) or if the entomological inoculation rate was known. In the assessment of drug efficacy against falciparum malaria, 28 days should be the minimum period of follow-up.
    • The relationship between the haemoglobin concentration and the haematocrit in Plasmodium falciparum malaria.

      Lee, S J; Stepniewska, K; Anstey, N; Ashley, E; Barnes, K; Binh, T Q; D'Alessandro, U; Day, N; de Vries, P J; Dorsey, G; et al. (BioMed Central, 2008-08)
      BACKGROUND: Malaria is a very important cause of anaemia in tropical countries. Anaemia is assessed either by measurement of the haematocrit or the haemoglobin concentration. For comparisons across studies, it is often necessary to derive one measure from the other. METHODS: Data on patients with slide-confirmed uncomplicated falciparum malaria were pooled from 85 antimalarial drug trials conducted in 25 different countries, to assess the haemoglobin/haematocrit relationship at different time points in malaria. Using a linear random effects model, a conversion equation for haematocrit was derived based on 3,254 measurements from various time points (ranging from day 0 to day 63) from 1,810 patients with simultaneous measurements of both parameters. Haemoglobin was also estimated from haematocrit with the commonly used threefold conversion. RESULTS: A good fit was obtained using Haematocrit = 5.62 + 2.60 * Haemoglobin. On average, haematocrit/3 levels were slightly higher than haemoglobin measurements with a mean difference (+/- SD) of -0.69 (+/- 1.3) for children under the age of 5 (n = 1,440 measurements from 449 patients). CONCLUSION: Based on this large data set, an accurate and robust conversion factor both in acute malaria and in convalescence was obtained. The commonly used threefold conversion is also valid.
    • A Worldwide Map of Plasmodium Falciparum K13-Propeller Polymorphisms

      Ménard, D; Khim, N; Beghain, J; Adegnika, AA; Shafiul-Alam, M; Amodu, O; Rahim-Awab, G; Barnadas, C; Berry, A; Boum, Y; et al. (Massachusetts Medical Society, 2016-06-23)
      Recent gains in reducing the global burden of malaria are threatened by the emergence of Plasmodium falciparum resistance to artemisinins. The discovery that mutations in portions of a P. falciparum gene encoding kelch (K13)-propeller domains are the major determinant of resistance has provided opportunities for monitoring such resistance on a global scale.