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      Tools for surveillance of anti-malarial drug resistance: an assessment of the current landscape

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          Abstract

          To limit the spread and impact of anti-malarial drug resistance and react accordingly, surveillance systems able to detect and track in real-time its emergence and spread need to be strengthened or in some places established. Currently, surveillance of anti-malarial drug resistance is done by any of three approaches: (1) in vivo studies to assess the efficacy of drugs in patients; (2) in vitro/ex vivo studies to evaluate parasite susceptibility to the drugs; and/or (3) molecular assays to detect validated gene mutations and/or gene copy number changes that are associated with drug resistance. These methods are complementary, as they evaluate different aspects of resistance; however, standardization of methods, especially for in vitro/ex vivo and molecular techniques, is lacking. The World Health Organization has developed a standard protocol for evaluating the efficacy of anti-malarial drugs, which is used by National Malaria Control Programmes to conduct their therapeutic efficacy studies. Regional networks, such as the East African Network for Monitoring Antimalarial Treatment and the Amazon Network for the Surveillance of Antimalarial Drug Resistance, have been set up to strengthen regional capacities for monitoring anti-malarial drug resistance. The Worldwide Antimalarial Resistance Network has been established to collate and provide global spatial and temporal trends information on the efficacy of anti-malarial drugs and resistance. While exchange of information across endemic countries is essential for monitoring anti-malarial resistance, sustainable funding for the surveillance and networking activities remains challenging. The technology landscape for molecular assays is progressing quite rapidly, and easy-to-use and affordable new techniques are becoming available. They also offer the advantage of high throughput analysis from a simple blood spots obtained from a finger prick. New technologies combined with the strengthening of national reference laboratories in malaria-endemic countries through standardized protocols and training plus the availability of a proficiency testing programme, would contribute to the improvement and sustainability of anti-malarial resistance surveillance networks worldwide.

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          The online version of this article (10.1186/s12936-018-2185-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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          Most cited references 105

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          Quantitative assessment of antimalarial activity in vitro by a semiautomated microdilution technique.

          A rapid, semiautomated microdilution method was developed for measuring the activity of potential antimalarial drugs against cultured intraerythrocytic asexual forms of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Microtitration plates were used to prepare serial dilutions of the compounds to be tested. Parasites, obtained from continuous stock cultures, were subcultured in these plates for 42 h. Inhibition of uptake of a radiolabeled nucleic acid precursor by the parasites served as the indicator of antimalarial activity. Results of repeated measurements of activity with chloroquine, quinine, and the investigational new drug mefloquine demonstrated that the method is sensitive and precise. Several additional antimalarial drugs and compounds of interest were tested in vitro, and the results were consistent with available in vivo data. The use of P. falciparum isolates with known susceptibility to antimalarial drugs also permitted evaluation of the cross-resistance potential of each compound tested. The applications and expectations of this new test system within a drug development program are discussed.
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            A molecular marker for chloroquine-resistant falciparum malaria.

            Chloroquine-resistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria is a major health problem, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. Chloroquine resistance has been associated in vitro with point mutations in two genes, pfcrt and pfmdr 1, which encode the P. falciparum digestive-vacuole transmembrane proteins PfCRT and Pgh1, respectively. To assess the value of these mutations as markers for clinical chloroquine resistance, we measured the association between the mutations and the response to chloroquine treatment in patients with uncomplicated falciparum malaria in Mali. The frequencies of the mutations in patients before and after treatment were compared for evidence of selection of resistance factors as a result of exposure to chloroquine. The pfcrt mutation resulting in the substitution of threonine (T76) for lysine at position 76 was present in all 60 samples from patients with chloroquine-resistant infections (those that persisted or recurred after treatment), as compared with a base-line prevalence of 41 percent in samples obtained before treatment from 116 randomly selected patients (P<0.001), indicating absolute selection for this mutation. The pfmdr 1 mutation resulting in the substitution of tyrosine for asparagine at position 86 was also selected for, since it was present in 48 of 56 post-treatment samples from patients with chloroquine-resistant infections (86 percent), as compared with a base-line prevalence of 50 percent in 115 samples obtained before treatment (P<0.001). The presence of pfcrt T76 was more strongly associated with the development of chloroquine resistance (odds ratio, 18.8; 95 percent confidence interval, 6.5 to 58.3) than was the presence of pfmdr 1 Y86 (odds ratio, 3.2; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.5 to 6.8) or the presence of both mutations (odds ratio, 9.8; 95 percent confidence interval, 4.4 to 22.1). This study shows an association between the pfcrt T76 mutation in P. falciparum and the development of chloroquine resistance during the treatment of malaria. This mutation can be used as a marker in surveillance for chloroquine-resistant falciparum malaria.
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              Microsatellite markers reveal a spectrum of population structures in the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

              Multilocus genotyping of microbial pathogens has revealed a range of population structures, with some bacteria showing extensive recombination and others showing almost complete clonality. The population structure of the protozoan parasite Plasmodium falciparum has been harder to evaluate, since most studies have used a limited number of antigen-encoding loci that are known to be under strong selection. We describe length variation at 12 microsatellite loci in 465 infections collected from 9 locations worldwide. These data reveal dramatic differences in parasite population structure in different locations. Strong linkage disequilibrium (LD) was observed in six of nine populations. Significant LD occurred in all locations with prevalence <1% and in only two of five of the populations from regions with higher transmission intensities. Where present, LD results largely from the presence of identical multilocus genotypes within populations, suggesting high levels of self-fertilization in populations with low levels of transmission. We also observed dramatic variation in diversity and geographical differentiation in different regions. Mean heterozygosities in South American countries (0.3-0.4) were less than half those observed in African locations (0. 76-0.8), with intermediate heterozygosities in the Southeast Asia/Pacific samples (0.51-0.65). Furthermore, variation was distributed among locations in South America (F:(ST) = 0.364) and within locations in Africa (F:(ST) = 0.007). The intraspecific patterns of diversity and genetic differentiation observed in P. falciparum are strikingly similar to those seen in interspecific comparisons of plants and animals with differing levels of outcrossing, suggesting that similar processes may be involved. The differences observed may also reflect the recent colonization of non-African populations from an African source, and the relative influences of epidemiology and population history are difficult to disentangle. These data reveal a range of population structures within a single pathogen species and suggest intimate links between patterns of epidemiology and genetic structure in this organism.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                nsanzabana.christian@gmail.com
                Journal
                Malar J
                Malar. J
                Malaria Journal
                BioMed Central (London )
                1475-2875
                8 February 2018
                8 February 2018
                2018
                : 17
                Affiliations
                [1 ]ISNI 0000 0001 1507 3147, GRID grid.452485.a, Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND), ; Geneva, Switzerland
                [2 ]WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network, Oxford, UK
                [3 ]ISNI 0000 0004 1936 8948, GRID grid.4991.5, Centre for Tropical Medicine and Global Health, Nuffield Department of Medicine, , University of Oxford, ; Oxford, UK
                [4 ]ISNI 0000 0001 2353 6535, GRID grid.428999.7, Unité Biologie des Interactions Hôte-Parasite, , Institut Pasteur, ; Paris, France
                Article
                2185
                10.1186/s12936-018-2185-9
                5806256
                29422048
                © The Author(s) 2018

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

                Funding
                Funded by: FundRef http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100000996, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian Government;
                Award ID: AUSCORE-02
                Funded by: FundRef http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100002992, Department for International Development, UK Government;
                Award ID: DFID-03
                Categories
                Review
                Custom metadata
                © The Author(s) 2018

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