Can field-based mosquito feeding assays be used for evaluating transmission-blocking interventions?

Trends Parasitol. 2013 Feb;29(2):53-9. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2012 Dec 28.


A recent meta-analysis of mosquito feeding assays to determine the Plasmodium falciparum transmission potential of naturally infected gametocyte carriers highlighted considerable variation in transmission efficiency between assay methodologies and between laboratories. This begs the question as to whether mosquito feeding assays should be used for the evaluation of transmission-reducing interventions in the field and whether these field-based mosquito assays are currently standardized sufficiently to enable accurate evaluations. Here, we address biological and methodological reasons for the observed variations, discuss whether these preclude the use of field-based mosquito feeding assays in field evaluations of transmission-blocking interventions, and propose how we can maximize the precision of estimates. Altogether, we underscore the significant advantages of field-based mosquito feeding assays in basic malaria research and field trials.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Assay / standards
  • Culicidae / physiology*
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology
  • Humans
  • Laboratories / standards
  • Malaria / prevention & control*
  • Malaria / transmission*
  • Parasitology / methods*
  • Parasitology / standards*