Thursday 18th of February 2016
At 15h15 in Administration room of IPC
“The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Diagnostic Program Overview”
Presented by: Sophie Allauzen, PhD
Senior Programme Officer, Global Health Diagnostics, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
In the control phase of malaria, microscopy and commercial rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) seem to be sufficient to carry out the goals of control programs to reduce morbidity and mortality. However, in malaria-eliminating settings, a large proportion of ongoing transmission is attributed to low-density and subclinical infections that are not detected by commercially available RDTs and microscopy. These asymptomatic infected individuals act as reservoirs and sustains transmission. Failure to detect and treat these reservoirs will be a main obstacle to the elimination efforts. To move from the “Control” phase to the “Elimination” phase, more sensitive diagnostic tests will be required to identify those individuals with low parasite densities and meet the needs of the elimination programs. Passive case detection strategies that dominate the focus of control programs will also need to be augmented by active infection detection tactics. The appropriate diagnostic tests have to be designed to support the elimination tactics and BMGF is developing a malaria diagnostics program with multiple partners that aims at designing the appropriate field tools to characterize the asymptomatic reservoir in order to more efficiently stratify malaria especially in low endemic settings (detection of hotspots) and to improve targeting of elimination interventions. The short term objective of the program is to focus on the detection of P. falciparum and address one key challenge which is defining the specifications of such new diagnostic test to be used in elimination settings in order to maximize impact. Significant work is currently ongoing to better characterize the extent and relevance of the human Pf reservoir stratified by individual biomarker concentrations. Comparative evaluation of HRP2 concentration, with DNA/RNA levels and microscopy will support the rational selection of the level of detection of such new tests. Next step is to conduct extensive field study to validate the specifications, build evidence of impact and help provide guidance in using diagnostic tools in various elimination settings.
*To download the information as PDF, please click Announcement for Dr Sophie Allauzen’s presentation