Impact of transmission intensity on the accuracy of genotyping to distinguish recrudescence from new infection in antimalarial clinical trials

Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2007 Sep;51(9):3096-103. doi: 10.1128/AAC.00159-07. Epub 2007 Jun 25.


Antimalarial clinical trials use genotyping techniques to distinguish new infection from recrudescence. In areas of high transmission, the accuracy of genotyping may be compromised due to the high number of infecting parasite strains. We compared the accuracies of genotyping methods, using up to six genotyping markers, to assign outcomes for two large antimalarial trials performed in areas of Africa with different transmission intensities. We then estimated the probability of genotyping misclassification and its effect on trial results. At a moderate-transmission site, three genotyping markers were sufficient to generate accurate estimates of treatment failure. At a high-transmission site, even with six markers, estimates of treatment failure were 20% for amodiaquine plus artesunate and 17% for artemether-lumefantrine, regimens expected to be highly efficacious. Of the observed treatment failures for these two regimens, we estimated that at least 45% and 35%, respectively, were new infections misclassified as recrudescences. Increasing the number of genotyping markers improved the ability to distinguish new infection from recrudescence at a moderate-transmission site, but using six markers appeared inadequate at a high-transmission site. Genotyping-adjusted estimates of treatment failure from high-transmission sites may represent substantial overestimates of the true risk of treatment failure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Animals
  • Antigens, Protozoan / genetics
  • Antimalarials / pharmacology*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • DNA, Satellite / genetics
  • Genetic Markers
  • Genotype
  • Heterozygote
  • Homozygote
  • Humans
  • Malaria, Falciparum / diagnosis*
  • Malaria, Falciparum / drug therapy*
  • Malaria, Falciparum / psychology
  • Merozoite Surface Protein 1 / genetics
  • Plasmodium falciparum / drug effects*
  • Plasmodium falciparum / genetics*
  • Protozoan Proteins / genetics
  • Recurrence
  • Treatment Failure


  • Antigens, Protozoan
  • Antimalarials
  • DNA, Satellite
  • Genetic Markers
  • Merozoite Surface Protein 1
  • Protozoan Proteins
  • merozoite surface protein 2, Plasmodium