Rapid diagnostic tests (RDT) for malaria are common, but their performance varies. Tests using histidine-rich protein 2 (HRP2) antigen are most common, and many have high sensitivity. HRP2 tests can remain positive for weeks after treatment, limiting their specificity and usefulness in high-transmission settings. Tests using Plasmodium lactate dehydrogenase (pLDH) have been less widely used but have higher specificity, mostly due to a much shorter time to become negative.
Plasmodium falciparum deficient for hrp2 and hrp3 genes are a threat to malaria management and elimination, since they escape widely used HRP2-based rapid diagnostic tests and treatment. Hrp2/hrp3 deletions are increasingly reported from all malaria endemic regions but are currently only identified by laborious methodologies.