A saliva-based rapid test to quantify the infectious subclinical malaria parasite reservoir

Dingyin Tao, Brent McGill, Timothy Hamerly, Tamaki Kobayashi, Prachi Khare, Amanda Dziedzic, Tomasz Leski, Andrew Holtz, Bruce Shull, Anne E. Jedlicka, Andrew Walzer, Paul D. Slowey, Christopher C. Slowey, Sandrine E. Nsango, David A. Stenger, Mike Chaponda, Modest Mulenga, Kathryn H. Jacobsen, David J. Sullivan, Sadie J. RyanRashid Ansumana, William J. Moss, Isabelle Morlais, Rhoel Dinglasan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


A large proportion of ongoing malaria parasite transmission is attributed to low-density subclinical infections not readily detected by available rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) or microscopy. Plasmodium falciparum gametocyte carriage is subclinical, but gametocytemic individuals comprise the parasite reservoir that leads to infection of mosquitoes and local transmission. Effective detection and quantification of these carriers can help advance malaria elimination strategies. However, no point-of-need (PON) RDTs for gametocyte detection exist, much less one that can perform noninvasive sampling of saliva outside a clinical setting. Here, we report on the discovery of 35 parasite markers from which we selected a single candidate for use in a PON RDT. We performed a cross-sectional, multi-omics study of saliva from 364 children with subclinical infection in Cameroon and Zambia and produced a prototype saliva-based PON lateral flow immunoassay test for P. falciparum gametocyte carriers. The test is capable of identifying submicroscopic carriage in both clinical and nonclinical settings and is compatible with archived saliva samples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbereaan4479
JournalScience translational medicine
Issue number473
StatePublished - Jan 2 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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