Last Updated

18 Feb 2019

Highly sensitive point-of-care diagnostics for P. falciparum

Recently, next-generation ultrasensitive rapid diagnostic tests (hsRDTs/uRDTs) for Plasmodium falciparum have become commercially available.

In October 2017, the Malaria Policy Advisory Committee (MPAC) concluded that additional research was needed to determine the public health impact of using highly sensitive point-of-care tests in test-and-treat strategies. Afterwards, in June 2018, a technical consultation was convened by the WHO Global Malaria Programme (GMP) to identify the evidence required to develop recommendations on the use of highly-sensitive point-of-care tests to support surveillance and elimination activities, as well as prevention of malaria in pregnancy [ref]. 

After reviewing the evidence presented at the technical consultation, MPAC reaffirmed its previous conclusion that there is insufficient evidence to determine if the low-density infections detectable by uRDTs have a significant impact on transmission. Therefore, MPAC did not recommend these tools for deployment in routine malaria control or elimination programmes until further evaluation through research activities is done and enough evidence is generated [ref].

So as to support the WHO technical consultation, this deep dive aims to review the current landscape of research in highly-sensitive point of care tests by systematically collecting data of funded and current research projects.

Deep dive outputs:

  • For the approach MESA used in compiling this deep dive see
  • For more comprehensive information on the set of projects (last updated June 2018) see