Multiplex malaria antigen detection by bead-based assay and molecular confirmation by PCR shows no evidence of Pfhrp2 and Pfhrp3 deletion in Haiti
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Multiplex malaria antigen detection by bead-based assay and molecular confirmation by PCR shows no evidence of Pfhrp2 and Pfhrp3 deletion in Haiti

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  • English

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    • Alternative Title:
      Malar J
    • Description:

      The Plasmodium falciparum parasite is the only human malaria that produces the histidine-rich protein 2 and 3 (HRP2/3) antigens. Currently, HRP2/3 are widely used in malaria rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs), but several global reports have recently emerged showing genetic deletion of one or both of these antigens in parasites. Deletion of these antigens could pose a major concern for P. falciparum diagnosis in Haiti which currently uses RDTs based solely on the detection of the HRP2/3 antigens.


      From September 2012 through February 2014, dried blood spots (DBS) were collected in Haiti from 9317 febrile patients presenting to 17 health facilities in 5 departments throughout the country as part of a bed net intervention study. All DBS from RDT positive persons and a random sampling of DBS from RDT negative persons were assayed for P. falciparum DNA by nested and PET-PCR (n = 2695 total). All PCR positive samples (n = 331) and a subset of PCR negative samples (n = 95) were assayed for three malaria antigens by a multiplex bead assay: pan-Plasmodium aldolase (pAldo), pan-Plasmodium lactate dehydrogenase (pLDH), and HRP2/3. Any samples positive for P. falciparum DNA, but negative for HRP2/3 antigens were tested by nested PCR for Pfhrp2 and Pfhrp3 gene deletions.


      Of 2695 DBS tested for Plasmodium DNA, 345 (12.8%) were originally found to be positive for P. falciparum DNA; 331 of these had DBS available for antigen detection. Of these, 266 (80.4%) were positive for pAldo, 221 (66.8%) positive for pLDH, and 324 (97.9%) were positive for HRP2/3 antigens. Seven samples (2.1%) positive for P. falciparum DNA were not positive for any of the three antigens by the bead assay, and were investigated for potential Pfhrp2/3 gene deletion by PCR. These samples either successfully amplified Pfhrp2/3 genes or were at an estimated parasite density too low for sufficient DNA to perform successful genotyping.


      Malaria positive samples in multiple Haitian sites were found to contain the HRP2/3 antigens, and no evidence was found of Pfhrp2/3 deletions. Malaria RDTs based on the detection of the HRP2/3 antigens remain a reliable P. falciparum diagnostic tool as Haiti works towards malaria elimination.

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