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Genetic surveillance in the Greater Mekong subregion and South Asia to support malaria control and elimination.

Abstract

GenRe-Mekong provides detailed knowledge about drug resistance at a local level, and facilitates data sharing at a regional level, enabling cross-border resistance monitoring and providing the public health community with valuable insights. The project provides a rich open data resource to benefit the entire malaria community.

GenRe-Mekong has worked with NMCPs and research projects in eight countries, processing 9623 samples from clinical cases. Monitoring resistance markers has been valuable for tracking the rapid spread of parasites resistant to the dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine combination therapy. In Vietnam and Laos, GenRe-Mekong data have provided novel knowledge about the spread of these resistant strains into previously unaffected provinces, informing decision-making by NMCPs.

Samples from symptomatic patients are processed by SpotMalaria, a high-throughput system that produces a comprehensive set of genotypes comprising several drug resistance markers, species markers and a genomic barcode. GenRe-Mekong delivers Genetic Report Cards, a compendium of genotypes and phenotype predictions used to map prevalence of resistance to multiple drugs.

The GenRe-Mekong project is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (OPP11188166, OPP1204268). Genotyping and sequencing were funded by the Wellcome Trust (098051, 206194, 203141, 090770, 204911, 106698/B/14/Z) and Medical Research Council (G0600718). A proportion of samples were collected with the support of the UK Department for International Development (201900, M006212), and Intramural Research Program of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

National Malaria Control Programmes (NMCPs) currently make limited use of parasite genetic data. We have developed GenRe-Mekong, a platform for genetic surveillance of malaria in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) that enables NMCPs to implement large-scale surveillance projects by integrating simple sample collection procedures in routine public health procedures.

MIDAS Network Members

Richard Maude

Head of Epidemiology Department
Mahidol-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit

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