pfhrp2 and pfhrp3 Gene Deletions That Affect Malaria Rapid Diagnostic Tests for Plasmodium falciparum: Analysis of Archived Blood Samples From 3 African Countries

Academic Article


  • Background. Malaria rapid diagnostic tests (mRDTs) that target histidine-rich protein 2 (HRP2) are important tools for Plasmodium falciparum diagnosis. Parasites with pfhrp2/3 gene deletions threaten the use of these mRDTs and have been reported in Africa, Asia, and South America. We studied blood samples from 3 African countries to determine if these gene deletions were present. Methods. We analyzed 911 dried blood spots from Ghana (n = 165), Tanzania (n = 176), and Uganda (n = 570). Plasmodium falciparum infection was confirmed by 18S rDNA polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and pfhrp2/3 genes were genotyped. True pfhrp2/3 gene deletions were confirmed if samples were (1) microscopy positive; (2) 18S rDNA PCR positive; (3) positive for merozoite surface protein genes by PCR or positive by loop-mediated isothermal amplification; or (4) quantitative PCR positive with >5 parasites/ μL. Results. No pfhrp2/3 deletions were detected in samples from Ghana, but deletions were identified in Tanzania (3 pfhrp2; 2 pfhrp3) and Uganda (7 pfhrp2; 2 pfhrp3). Of the 10 samples with pfhrp2 deletions, 9 tested negative by HRP2-based mRDT. Conclusions. The presence of pfhrp2/3 deletions in Tanzania and Uganda, along with reports of pfhrp2/3-deleted parasites in neighboring countries, reinforces the need for systematic surveillance to monitor the reliability of mRDTs in malaria-endemic countries.
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    Author List

  • Thomson R; Beshir KB; Cunningham J; Baiden F; Bharmal J; Bruxvoort KJ; Maiteki-Sebuguzi C; Owusu-Agyei S; Staedke SG; Hopkins H
  • Start Page

  • 1444
  • End Page

  • 1452
  • Volume

  • 220
  • Issue

  • 9