Molecular quantification of Plasmodium parasite density from the blood retained in used RDTs

Ailie Robinson*, Annette O. Busula, Julian K. Muwanguzi, Stephen J. Powers, Daniel K. Masiga, Teun Bousema, Willem Takken, Jetske G. de Boer, James G. Logan, Khalid B. Beshir, Colin J. Sutherland

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Most malaria-endemic countries are heavily reliant upon rapid diagnostic tests (RDT) for malaria case identification and treatment. RDT previously used for malaria diagnosis can subsequently be used for molecular assays, including qualitative assessment of parasite species present or the carriage of resistance markers, because parasite DNA can be extracted from the blood inside the RDT which remains preserved on the internal components. However, the quantification of parasite density has not previously been possible from used RDT. In this study, blood samples were collected from school-age children in Western Kenya, in the form of both dried blood spots on Whatman filter paper, and the blood spot that is dropped into rapid diagnostic tests during use. Having first validated a robotic DNA extraction method, the parasite density was determined from both types of sample by duplex qPCR, and across a range of densities. The methods showed good agreement. The preservation of both parasite and human DNA on the nitrocellulose membrane inside the RDT was stable even after more than one year’s storage. This presents a useful opportunity for researchers or clinicians wishing to gain greater information about the parasite populations that are being studied, without significant investment of resources.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5107
JournalScientific Reports
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Mar 2019

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    Robinson, A., Busula, A. O., Muwanguzi, J. K., Powers, S. J., Masiga, D. K., Bousema, T., ... Sutherland, C. J. (2019). Molecular quantification of Plasmodium parasite density from the blood retained in used RDTs. Scientific Reports, 9(1), [5107]. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-41438-0