Assessing the impact of next-generation rapid diagnostic tests on Plasmodium falciparum malaria elimination strategies
The objectives of this modelling study are:
- To estimate the contribution to the infectious reservoir of individuals with different parasite densities and hence the proportion of the infectious reservoir that could be detected across a range of diagnostic sensitivity thresholds.
- To use well-established mathematical models of malaria transmission to assess how these different diagnostic sensitivities could improve the prospect of malaria elimination in an African and an Asian context.
To improve the impact of elimination strategies such as mass-screen-and-treat (SAT) and targeted mass drug administration (MDA), researchers are developing RDTs with improved limits of detection. Trying to establish the appropriate target performance specifications for these tests raises two questions. First, how infectious are individuals with low parasite densities (how much could they contribute to the infectious reservoir)? Second, could the use of a more-sensitive diagnostic increase the ability of an MSAT intervention to achieve local interruption of transmission?
We address these questions from a population perspective using a combination of data analysis and mathematical modelling.