The use of molecular diagnostics has revealed an unexpectedly large number of asymptomatic low-density malaria infections in many malaria endemic areas. This study compared the gains in parasite prevalence obtained by the use of ultra-sensitive (us)-qPCR as compared to standard qPCR in cross-sectional surveys conducted in Thailand, Brazil and Papua New Guinea (PNG). The compared assays differed in the copy number of qPCR targets in the parasite genome.
Malaria epidemiological and immunological data suggest that parasite tolerance wanes in the absence of continuous exposure to the parasite, potentially enhancing pathogenesis. The expansion of control interventions and elimination campaigns raises the necessity to better understand the host factors leading to susceptibility or tolerance that are affected by rapid changes in malaria transmission intensity (MTI). Mediators of cellular immune responses are responsible for the symptoms and pathological alterations during disease and are expected to change rapidly upon malaria exposure or cessation.