Unprecedented efforts in malaria control over the last 15 years have led to a substantial decrease in both morbidity and mortality in most endemic settings. However, these progresses have stalled over recent years, and resurgence may cause dramatic impact on both morbidity and mortality. Nevertheless, elimination efforts are currently going on with the objective of reducing malaria morbidity and mortality by 90% and malaria elimination in at least 35 countries by 2030. Strengthening surveillance systems is of paramount importance to reach those targets, and the integration of molecular and genomic techniques into routine surveillance could substantially improve the quality and robustness of data. Techniques such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and quantitative PCR (qPCR) are increasingly available in malaria endemic countries, whereas others such as sequencing are already available in a few laboratories. However, sequencing, especially next-generation sequencing (NGS), requires sophisticated infrastructure with adequate computing power and highly trained personnel for data analysis that require substantial investment. Different techniques will be required for different applications, and cost-effective planning must ensure the appropriate use of available resources. The development of national and sub-regional reference laboratories could help in minimizing the resources required in terms of equipment and trained staff. Concerted efforts from different stakeholders at national, sub-regional, and global level are needed to develop the required framework to establish and maintain these reference laboratories.
Keywords: Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium vivax; genomic; malaria; molecular; sequencing.; surveillance.