Many health facilities in malaria endemic countries are dependent on Rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) for diagnosis and some National Health Service (NHS) hospitals without expert microscopists rely on them for diagnosis out of hours. The emergence of P. falciparum lacking the gene encoding histidine-rich protein 2 and 3 (HRP2 and HRP3) and escaping RDT detection threatens progress in malaria control and elimination. Currently, confirmation of RDT negative due to the deletion of pfhrp2 and pfhrp3, which encodes a cross-reactive protein isoform, requires a series of PCR assays. These tests have different limits of detection and many laboratories have reported difficulty in confirming the absence of the deletions with certainty.
Determination of blood-meal hosts in blood-fed female Anopheles mosquitoes is important for evaluating vectorial capacity of vector populations and assessing effectiveness of vector control measures. Sensitive molecular methods are needed to detect traces of host blood in mosquito samples, to differentiate hosts, and to detect mixed host blood meals. This paper describes a molecular probe-based quantitative PCR for identifying blood-meal hosts in Anopheles malaria vectors from Papua New Guinea.