Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

24 May 2017, Bangkok – This April and May, the targeted malaria elimination (TME) study in Laos’ final prevalence survey evaluated new tools to detect asymptomatic malaria. These included new rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) that may be similar in sensitivity to a PCR performed on dried blood spots and reading machines that fire a laser at RDTs and use a thermal camera to detect faint positive results that would be beyond the range of the human eye.

Composite image of researchers in a lab and in the field

Developed by Intellectual Ventures Laboratory with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation via Global Good, both are potential new malaria elimination tools as they could identify rapidly the asymptomatic reservoir of falciparum infections. Results are expected late summer 2017 comparing the new RDTs and readers to a gold standard method of malaria detection, the quantitative PCR results from Mallika Imwong’s molecular laboratory at MORU.

A team led by LOMWRU scientists Mayfong Mayxay and Koukeo Phommasone (bottom right), Tiengkham Pongvongsa (bottom centre), head of malaria control in Savannakhet Province, and WWARN’s Mehul Dhorda and MORU’s Lorenz von Seidlein and Tom Peto hosted Kevin Nichols and Stephen Burkhor (top left) of Intellectual Ventures Laboratory (IVL) to field test the tools.

Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the MORU TME project seeks to accelerate malaria elimination by providing mass drug administrations (MDA) to communities that have relatively high P. falciparum prevalence, access to village health malaria workers and where every household has one or more long lasting insecticide treated bed nets. The TME project operates in four Greater Mekong Subregion countries: Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Viet Nam.

In Laos, the TME project focuses on rural villages in Savannakhet province, which has the third highest malaria incidence in Lao PDR. A survey conducted in 18 rural villages in Savannakhet in 2015 using uPCR detected Plasmodium infections in 175 of 888 samples (20%). Most villages in Savannakhet are relatively accessible and malaria elimination has a high priority for the local government. LOMWRU’s Dr Mayfong Mayxay is the principal investigator (PI) for the Lao PDR study, while Dr Koukeo Phommasone is the field site PI.

Similar stories

AMR and scrub typhus among Chiangrai Unit's research priorities

Which infections are most common in the Chiangrai region? How should we treat them and how can we improve diagnostic? Which strategies are most effective in directing antibiotic treatment? Blog by Carlo Perrone, research physician based at the Chiang Rai Clinical Research Unit in Chiangrai, Thailand.

Researchers call for access to Ivermectin for young children

Millions of children weighing less than 15kg are currently denied access to Ivermectin treatment due to insufficient safety data being available to support a change to the current label indication. The WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network’s new meta-analysis provides evidence that supports removing this barrier and improving treatment equity.

Evidence supports WHO recommendation for primaquine combined with ACTs to block Plasmodium falciparum transmission

Evidence from a new study, initiated by the Primaquine Roll Out Group and conducted at WWARN, supports the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation for use of 0.25mg/kg dose of primaquine (PQ) combined with artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACT) to block Plasmodium falciparum transmission.

Check-list recommended to improve reporting of microscopy methods and results in malaria studies

A study to explore the variations of how microscopy methods are reported in published malaria studies has recommended standardised procedures should be implemented for methodological consistency and comparability of clinical trial outcomes.

The COVID-19 vaccine: do we know enough to end the pandemic?

Blog by Rima Shretta. Preliminary efficacy results from three vaccine candidates currently in Phase 3 trials have shown an efficacy of more than 90% against the development of symptomatic COVID-19. While these results are promising, all vaccines are in relatively early stages of testing. A comprehensive and transparent roadmap is urgently needed, to determine how limited doses of the first vaccines to be licensed will be distributed, together with which groups will initially be prioritized.

New study on the risk of Plasmodium vivax parasitaemia after Plasmodium falciparum malaria

A new study quantifying the high risk of Plasmodium vivax parasitaemia after treatment of Plasmodium falciparum malaria aims to identify populations in which a policy of universal radical cure, combining artemisinin-based combination therapy with a hypnozoitocidal antimalarial drug, would be most beneficial.