Operational Performance of a Plasmodium falciparum Ultrasensitive Rapid Diagnostic Test for Detection of Asymptomatic Infections in Eastern Myanmar.
ABSTRACT: In the Greater Mekong Subregion in Southeast Asia, malaria elimination strategies need to target all Plasmodium falciparum parasites, including those carried asymptomatically. More than 70% of asymptomatic carriers are not detected by current rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) or microscopy. An HRP2-based ultrasensitive RDT (uRDT) developed to improve the detection of low-density infections was evaluated during prevalence surveys within a malaria elimination program in a low-transmission area of eastern Myanmar. Surveys were conducted to identify high-prevalence villages. Two-milliliter venous blood samples were collected from asymptomatic adult volunteers and transported to the laboratory. Plasmodium parasites were detected by RDT, uRDT, microscopy, ultrasensitive qPCR (uPCR), and multiplex enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The sensitivity, specificity, and predictive positive and negative values of RDT and uRDT were calculated compared to uPCR and ELISA. Parasite and antigen concentrations detected by each test were defined using uPCR and ELISA, respectively. A total of 1,509 samples, including 208 P. falciparum-positive samples were analyzed with all tests. The sensitivity of the uRDT was twofold higher than that of RDT, 51.4% versus 25.2%, with minor specificity loss, 99.5% versus 99.9%, against the combined reference (uPCR plus ELISA). The geometric mean parasitemia detected by uRDT in P. falciparum monospecific infections was 3,019 parasites per ml (95% confidence interval [95% CI], 1,790 to 5,094; n = 79) compared to 11,352 parasites per ml (95% CI, 5,643 to 22,837; n = 38) by RDT. The sensitivities of uRDT and RDT dropped to 34.6% and 15.1%, respectively, for the matched tests performed in the field. The uRDT performed consistently better than RDT and microscopy at low parasitemias. It shows promising characteristics for the identification of high-prevalence communities and warrants further evaluation in mass screening and treatment interventions.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4> An ultrasensitive malaria rapid diagnostic test (RDT) was recently developed for the improved detection of low-density Plasmodium falciparum infections. This study aimed to compare the diagnostic performance of the PfHRP2-based Abbott Malaria Ag P. falciparum ultrasensitive RDT (uRDT) to that of the conventional SD-Bioline Malaria Ag P. falciparum RDT (cRDT) when performed under field conditions. <h4>Methods</h4> Finger-prick blood samples were collected from adults and children in two cross-sectional surveys in May of 2017 in southern Mozambique. Using real-time quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) as the reference method, the age-specific diagnostic performance indicators of the cRDT and uRDT were compared. The presence of histidine-rich protein 2 (HRP2) and Plasmodium lactate dehydrogenase (pLDH) antigens was evaluated in a subset from dried blood spots by a quantitative antigen assay. pfhrp2 and pfhrp3 gene deletions were assessed in samples positive by RT-qPCR and negative by both RDTs. <h4>Results</h4> Among the 4,396 participants with complete test results, the sensitivity of uRDTs (68.2; 95% CI 60.8 to 74.9) was marginally better than that of cRDTs (61.5; 95% CI 53.9 to 68.6) (p-value?=?0.004), while the specificities were similar (uRDT: 99.0 [95% CI 98.6 to 99.2], cRDT: 99.2 [95% CI 98.9 to 99.4], p-value?=?0.02). While the performance of both RDTs was lowest in???15-year-olds, driven by the higher prevalence of low parasite density infections in this group, the sensitivity of uRDTs was significantly higher in this age group (54.9, 95% CI 40.3 to 68.9) compared to the sensitivity of cRDTs (39.2, 95% CI 25.8 to 53.9) (p-value?=?0.008). Both RDTs detected P. falciparum infections at similar geometric mean parasite densities (112.9 parasites/?L for uRDTs and 145.5 parasites/?L for cRDTs). The presence of HRP2 antigen was similar among false positive (FP) samples of both tests (80.5% among uRDT-FPs and 84.4% among cRDT-FPs). Only one false negative sample was detected with a partial pfhrp2 deletion. <h4>Conclusion</h4> This study showed that the uRDTs developed by Abbott do not substantially outperform SD-Bioline Pf malaria RDTs in the community and are still not comparable to molecular methods to detect P. falciparum infections in this study setting.
Project description:The ultrasensitive Alere <i>Plasmodium falciparum</i> Malaria Ag histidine-rich protein 2 rapid diagnostic test (Alere uRDT, Suwon City, South Korea) is a new diagnostic tool which is more expensive than other malaria rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) routinely used in Ugandan clinics. The manufacturer recommends testing samples within 2 days and scoring results after 20 minutes, which may be impractical in high-volume resource-poor clinics. We compared testing by the Alere Ag rapid diagnostic test (uRDT), CareStart RDT, microscopy, and an ultrasensitive I8S rRNA quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) using survey and clinical samples. For the Alere uRDT, we used survey blood samples stored at 4°C for 44 days and for some clinical samples deliberately scored results beyond 20 minutes. The Alere uRDT and qRT-PCR identified asymptomatic parasitemia cases in 56% and 72%, respectively, of survey samples originally scored as negative by the CareStart RDT. Using qRT-PCR as a gold standard, the Alere uRDT was superior to the CareStart RDT in estimating asymptomatic parasite prevalence in a cross-sectional survey (<i>P</i> = 0.007) and in detection of clinically significant malaria; both RDTs were comparable in detecting asymptomatic parasitemia in the clinic (<i>P</i> = 0.599). Scoring Alere uRDT results at 20 minutes produced valid results confirmed by the CareStart RDT, but there was a consistent background; scoring the Alere uRDT beyond 20 minutes produced false-positive results. The Alere uRDT outperformed the CareStart RDT (ACCESSBIO, Somerset, NJ) in a field survey in estimating malaria prevalence and in the clinic for symptomatic malarial illness. It produced reliable results using samples stored at 4°C for 44 days, but test results read beyond 20 minutes were invalid.
Project description:Sensitive field-deployable diagnostic tests can assist malaria programs in achieving elimination. The performance of a new Alere™ Malaria Ag P.f Ultra Sensitive rapid diagnostic test (uRDT) was compared with the currently available SD Bioline Malaria Ag P.f RDT in blood specimens from asymptomatic individuals in Nagongera, Uganda, and in a Karen Village, Myanmar, representative of high- and low-transmission areas, respectively, as well as in pretreatment specimens from study participants from four Plasmodium falciparum-induced blood-stage malaria (IBSM) studies. A quantitative reverse transcription PCR (qRT-PCR) and a highly sensitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test for histidine-rich protein II (HRP2) were used as reference assays. The uRDT showed a greater than 10-fold lower limit of detection for HRP2 compared with the RDT. The sensitivity of the uRDT was 84% and 44% against qRT-PCR in Uganda and Myanmar, respectively, and that of the RDT was 62% and 0% for the same two sites. The specificities of the uRDT were 92% and 99.8% against qRT-PCR for Uganda and Myanmar, respectively, and 99% and 99.8% against the HRP2 reference ELISA. The RDT had specificities of 95% and 100% against qRT-PCR for Uganda and Myanmar, respectively, and 96% and 100% against the HRP2 reference ELISA. The uRDT detected new infections in IBSM study participants 1.5 days sooner than the RDT. The uRDT has the same workflow as currently available RDTs, but improved performance characteristics to identify asymptomatic malaria infections. The uRDT may be a useful tool for malaria elimination strategies.
Project description:BACKGROUND:While sub-microscopic malarial infections are frequent and potentially deleterious during pregnancy, routine molecular detection is still not feasible. This study aimed to assess the performance of a Histidine Rich Protein 2 (HRP2)-based ultrasensitive rapid diagnostic test (uRDT, Alere Malaria Ag Pf) for the detection of infections of low parasite density in pregnant women. METHODS:This was a retrospective study based on samples collected in Benin from 2014 to 2017. A total of 942 whole blood samples collected in 327 women in the 1st and 3rd trimesters and at delivery were tested by uRDT, conventional RDT (cRDT, SD BIOLINE Malaria Ag Pf), microscopy, quantitative polymerase chain-reaction (qPCR) and Luminex-based suspension array technology targeting P. falciparum HRP2. The performance of each RDT was evaluated using qPCR as reference standard. The association between infections detected by uRDT, but not by cRDT, with poor maternal and birth outcomes was assessed using multivariate regression models. RESULTS:The overall positivity rate detected by cRDT, uRDT, and qPCR was 11.6% (109/942), 16.2% (153/942) and 18.3% (172/942), respectively. Out of 172 qPCR-positive samples, 68 were uRDT-negative. uRDT had a significantly better sensitivity (60.5% [52.7-67.8]) than cRDT (44.2% [36.6-51.9]) and a marginally decreased specificity (93.6% [91.7-95.3] versus 95.7% [94.0-97.0]). The gain in sensitivity was particularly high (33%) and statistically significant in the 1st trimester. Only 28 (41%) out of the 68 samples which were qPCR-positive, but uRDT-negative had detectable but very low levels of HRP2 (191 ng/mL). Infections that were detected by uRDT but not by cRDT were associated with a 3.4-times (95%CI 1.29-9.19) increased risk of anaemia during pregnancy. CONCLUSIONS:This study demonstrates the higher performance of uRDT, as compared to cRDTs, to detect low parasite density P. falciparum infections during pregnancy, particularly in the 1st trimester. uRDT allowed the detection of infections associated with maternal anaemia.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4> To overcome the limitations of conventional malaria rapid diagnostic tests (cRDTs) in diagnosing malaria in patients with low parasitaemia, ultrasensitive malaria rapid diagnostic tests (uRDTs) have recently been developed, with promising results under laboratory conditions. The current study is the first meta-analysis comparing the overall sensitivity, and specificity of newly developed ultrasensitive Plasmodium falciparum malaria RDT (Alere™ Ultra-sensitive Malaria Ag P. falciparum RDT) with the cRDT conducted in the same field conditions. <h4>Methods</h4> PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane infectious diseases group specialized register, and African Journals Online (AJOL) were searched up to 20th April 2021. Studies with enough data to compute sensitivity and specificity of uRDT and cRDT were retrieved. A random-effect model for meta-analysis was used to obtain the pooled sensitivity and specificity. <h4>Results</h4> Overall, 15 data sets from 14 studies were included in the meta-analysis. The overall sensitivity of the Alere™ ultra-sensitive Malaria Ag P. falciparum RDT regardless of the reference test and the clinical presentation of participants, was 55.5% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 45.5; 65.0), while the sensitivity regardless of the reference test and the clinical presentation of participants, was 42.9% (95% CI: 31.5; 55.2) for the cRDT performed in the same field conditions. When PCR was used as reference test, the sensitivity of uRDT was 60.4% (95% CI: 50.8; 69.2), while the sensitivity was 49.4% (95% CI: 38.2; 60.6) for the cRDT. The pooled specificity of uRDT regardless of the reference test and the clinical presentation of participants was 98.6% (95% CI: 97.1; 99.4), and the pooled specificity of cRDT regardless of the reference test and the clinical presentation of participants was 99.3% (95% CI: 98.1; 99.7). When PCR was used as reference test the specificity of uRDT and cRDT was 97.5% (95% CI: 94.1; 98.9) and 98.2% (95% CI: 95.5; 99.3). Regardless of the reference test used, the sensitivity of Alere™ Ultra-sensitive Malaria Ag P. falciparum RDT in symptomatic patients was 72.1% (95%CI: 67.4; 76.4), while sensitivity of cRDT was 67.4% (95%CI: 57.6; 75.9). <h4>Conclusion</h4> Findings of the meta-analysis show that Alere™ Ultra-sensitive Malaria Ag P. falciparum RDT compared to cRDT performed in the same field conditions has higher sensitivity but lower specificity although the difference is not statistically significant. <h4>Supplementary Information</h4> The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1186/s12936-021-03783-2.
Project description:Cambodia has seen a marked reduction in the incidence of Plasmodium falciparum over the past decade without a corresponding decline in Plasmodium vivax incidence. It is unknown to what extent local transmission is sustained by a chain of clinical and sub-clinical infections or by continued re-introduction via migration. Using an ultrasensitive molecular technique, 20 villages in western Cambodia were surveyed to detect the low season prevalence of P. falciparum and P. vivax and local treatment records were reviewed.During March to May 2015 cross-sectional surveys were conducted in 20 villages in Battambang, western Cambodia. Demographic and epidemiological data and venous blood samples were collected from 50 randomly selected adult volunteers in each village. Blood was tested for Plasmodium infections by rapid diagnostic test (RDT), microscopy and high volume (0.5 ml packed red blood cell) quantitative polymerase chain reaction (uPCR). Positive samples were analysed by nested PCR to determine the Plasmodium species. Malaria case records were collected from the Provincial Health Department and village malaria workers to determine incidence and migration status.Among the 1000 participants, 91 (9.1%) were positive for any Plasmodium infection by uPCR, seven (0.7%) by microscopy, and two (0.2%) by RDT. uPCR P. vivax prevalence was 6.6%, P. falciparum 0.7%, and undetermined Plasmodium species 1.8%. Being male (adjusted OR 2.0; 95% CI 1.2-3.4); being a young adult <30 years (aOR 2.1; 95% CI 1.3-3.4); recent forest travel (aOR 2.8; 95% CI 1.6-4.8); and, a history of malaria (aOR 5.2; 95% CI 2.5-10.7) were independent risk factors for parasitaemia. Of the clinical malaria cases diagnosed by village malaria workers, 43.9% (297/634) and 38.4% (201/523) were among migrants in 2013 and in 2014, respectively. Plasmodium vivax prevalence determined by uPCR significantly correlated with vivax malaria incidences in both 2014 and 2015 (p = 0.001 and 0.002, respectively), whereas no relationship was observed in falciparum malaria (p = 0.36 and p = 0.59, respectively).There was heterogeneity in the malaria parasite reservoir between villages, and Plasmodium prevalence correlated with subsequent malaria incidence. The association was attributable chiefly to P. vivax infections, which were nine-fold more prevalent than P. falciparum infections. In the absence of a radical cure with 8-aminoquinolines, P. vivax transmission will continue even as P. falciparum prevalence declines. Migration was associated with over a third of incident cases of clinical malaria. Trial registration clinicaltrials.gov (NCT01872702). Registered 4 June 2013.
Project description:A large fraction of Plasmodium infections do not cause clinical signs and symptoms of disease and persist at densities in blood that are not detectable by microscopy or rapid diagnostic tests. These infections may be critical as a transmission reservoir in areas of low malaria endemicity. Understanding the epidemiology of these infections would be helpful for malaria elimination.A cross-sectional survey was conducted in Thapangthong and Nong Districts of Savannakhet Province, Lao PDR, to determine the prevalence of parasitaemia. A total of 888 blood samples were collected from afebrile volunteers aged ?15 years in 18 villages during March and July 2015. Plasmodium infections were diagnosed by rapid diagnostic tests (RDT) and high volume, ultra-sensitive quantitative polymerase chain reaction (uPCR).uPCR detected Plasmodium infections in 175 of 888 samples (20 %). The species distribution was Plasmodium falciparum 3.6 % (32/888), Plasmodium vivax 11.1 % (99/888), mixed infections with P. falciparum and P. vivax 1.6 % (14/888) and Plasmodium of undetermined species 3.4 % (30/888). RDT identified only 2 % (18/888) positive cases. Using uPCR as reference, the sensitivity and specificity of RDTs were 28 and 100 %, respectively, in detecting P. falciparum infections, and 3 and 99 % in detecting asymptomatic P. vivax infections. The K13 kelch propeller domain C580Y mutation, associated with reduced susceptibility to artemisinin derivatives, was found in 75 % (12/18) of P. falciparum isolates from Thapangthong and in 7 % (2/28) from Nong (p < 0.001). In a multivariate analysis, males were more likely to have P. vivax infections [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 4.76 (95 % CI 2.84-8.00)] while older villagers were at lower risk for parasitaemia [aOR for increasing age 0.98 (95 % CI 0.96-0.99)].There is a high prevalence of asymptomatic Plasmodium infections in southern Savannakhet. Artemisinin-resistant P. falciparum strains form an increasing proportion of the parasite population in Thapangthong District and are already present in the more remote Nong District. This worrying trend has wider implications for Laos and could reverse the gains achieved by the successful control of malaria in Laos and the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS). Rapid elimination of P. falciparum has to be a top priority in Laos as well as in the wider GMS.
Project description:Estimates of malaria transmission intensity (MTI) typically rely upon microscopy or rapid diagnostic testing (RDT). However, these methods are less sensitive than nucleic acid amplification techniques and may underestimate parasite prevalence. We compared microscopy, RDT, and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for the diagnosis of Plasmodium falciparum parasitemia as part of an MTI study of 800 children and adults conducted in Lilongwe, Malawi. PCR detected more cases of parasitemia than microscopy or RDT. Age less than 5 years predicted parasitemia detected by PCR alone (adjusted odds ratio = 1.61, 95% confidence interval = 1.09-2.38, Wald P = 0.02). In addition, we identified one P. falciparum parasite with a false-negative RDT result due to a suspected deletion of the histidine-rich protein 2 (hrp2) gene and used a novel, ultrasensitive PCR assay to detect low-level parasitemia missed by traditional PCR. Molecular methods should be considered for use in future transmission studies as a supplement to RDT or microscopy.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Malaria reactive case detection is the testing and, if positive, treatment of close contacts of index cases. It is included in national malaria control programmes of countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion to accelerate malaria elimination. Yet the value of reactive case detection in the control and elimination of malaria remains controversial because of the low yield, limited evidence for impact, and high demands on resources.<h4>Methods</h4>Data from the epidemiological assessments of large mass drug administration (MDA) studies in Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos were analysed to explore malaria infection clustering in households. The proportion of malaria positive cases among contacts screened in a hypothetical reactive case detection programme was then determined. The parasite density thresholds for rapid diagnostic test (RDT) detection was assumed to be > 50/µL (50,000/mL), for dried-blood-spot (DBS) based PCR > 5/µL (5000/mL), and for ultrasensitive PCR (uPCR) with a validated limit of detection at 0.0022/µL (22/mL).<h4>Results</h4>At baseline, before MDA, 1223 Plasmodium infections were detected by uPCR in 693 households. There was clustering of Plasmodium infections. In 637 households with asymptomatic infections 44% (278/637) had more than one member with Plasmodium infections. In the 132 households with symptomatic infections, 65% (86/132) had more than one member with Plasmodium infections. At baseline 4% of households had more than one Plasmodium falciparum infection, but three months after MDA no household had more than one P. falciparum infected member. Reactive case detection using DBS PCR would have detected ten additional cases in six households, and an RDT screen would have detected five additional cases in three households among the 169 households with at least one RDT positive case. This translates to 19 and 9 additional cases identified per 1000 people screened, respectively. Overall, assuming all febrile RDT positive patients would seek treatment and provoke reactive case detection using RDTs, then 1047 of 1052 (99.5%) Plasmodium infections in these communities would have remained undetected.<h4>Conclusion</h4>Reactive case detection in the Greater Mekong subregion is predicted to have a negligible impact on the malaria burden, but it has substantial costs in terms of human and financial resources.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Plasmodium falciparum histidine-rich protein 2 (HRP2)-based rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) are exclusively recommended for malaria diagnosis in Uganda; however, their functionality can be affected by parasite-related factors that have not been investigated in field settings.<h4>Methods</h4>Using a cross-sectional design, we analysed 219 RDT-/microscopy+ and 140 RDT+/microscopy+ dried blood spots obtained from symptomatic children aged 2-10 years from 48 districts in Uganda between 2017 and 2019. We aimed to investigate parasite-related factors contributing to false RDT results by molecular characterization of parasite isolates. ArcGIS software was used to map the geographical distribution of parasites. Statistical analysis was performed using chi-square or Fisher's exact tests, with P ? 0.05 indicating significance. Odds ratios (ORs) were used to assess associations, while logistic regression was performed to explore possible factors associated with false RDT results.<h4>Results</h4>The presence of parasite DNA was confirmed in 92.5% (332/359) of the blood samples. The levels of agreement between the HRP2 RDT and PCR assay results in the (RDT+/microscopy+) and (RDT-/microscopy+) sample subsets were 97.8% (137/140) and 10.9% (24/219), respectively. Factors associated with false-negative RDT results in the (RDT-/microscopy+) samples were parasite density (<1,000/?l), pfhrp2/3 gene deletion and non-P. falciparum species (aOR 2.65, 95% CI: 1.62-4.38, P = 0.001; aOR 4.4, 95% CI 1.72-13.66, P = 0.004; and aOR 18.65, 95% CI: 5.3-38.7, P = 0.001, respectively). Overall, gene deletion and non-P. falciparum species contributed to 12.3% (24/195) and 19.0% (37/195) of false-negative RDT results, respectively. Of the false-negative RDTs results, 80.0% (156/195) were from subjects with low-density infections (< 25 parasites per 200 WBCs or <1,000/?l).<h4>Conclusion</h4>This is the first evaluation and report of the contributions of pfhrp2/3 gene deletion, non-P. falciparum species, and low-density infections to false-negative RDT results under field conditions in Uganda. In view of these findings, the use of HRP2 RDTs should be reconsidered; possibly, switching to combination RDTs that target alternative antigens, particularly in affected areas, may be beneficial. Future evaluations should consider larger and more representative surveys covering other regions of Uganda.