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01.12.2017 | Methodology | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

Malaria Journal 1/2017

Malaria surveys using rapid diagnostic tests and validation of results using post hoc quantification of Plasmodium falciparum histidine-rich protein 2

Malaria Journal > Ausgabe 1/2017
Mateusz Plucinski, Rafael Dimbu, Baltazar Candrinho, James Colborn, Aida Badiane, Daouda Ndiaye, Kimberly Mace, Michelle Chang, Jean F. Lemoine, Eric S. Halsey, John W. Barnwell, Venkatachalam Udhayakumar, Michael Aidoo, Eric Rogier
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1186/​s12936-017-2101-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



Rapid diagnostic test (RDT) positivity is supplanting microscopy as the standard measure of malaria burden at the population level. However, there is currently no standard for externally validating RDT results from field surveys.


Individuals’ blood concentration of the Plasmodium falciparum histidine rich protein 2 (HRP2) protein were compared to results of HRP2-detecting RDTs in participants from field surveys in Angola, Mozambique, Haiti, and Senegal. A logistic regression model was used to estimate the HRP2 concentrations corresponding to the 50 and 90% level of detection (LOD) specific for each survey.


There was a sigmoidal dose–response relationship between HRP2 concentration and RDT positivity for all surveys. Variation was noted in estimates for field RDT sensitivity, with the 50% LOD ranging between 0.076 and 6.1 ng/mL and the 90% LOD ranging between 1.1 and 53 ng/mL. Surveys conducted in two different provinces of Angola using the same brand of RDT and same study methodology showed a threefold difference in LOD.


Measures of malaria prevalence estimated using population RDT positivity should be interpreted in the context of potentially large variation in RDT LODs between, and even within, surveys. Surveys based on RDT positivity would benefit from external validation of field RDT results by comparing RDT positivity and antigen concentration.
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