Prevalence of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency (G6PDd), CareStart qualitative rapid diagnostic test performance, and genetic variants in two malaria-endemic areas in Sudan

PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2021 Oct 26;15(10):e0009720. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0009720. eCollection 2021 Oct.


Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency (G6PDd) is the most common enzymopathy globally, and deficient individuals may experience severe hemolysis following treatment with 8-aminoquinolines. With increasing evidence of Plasmodium vivax infections throughout sub-Saharan Africa, there is a pressing need for population-level data at on the prevalence of G6PDd. Such evidence-based data will guide the expansion of primaquine and potentially tafenoquine for radical cure of P. vivax infections. This study aimed to quantify G6PDd prevalence in two geographically distinct areas in Sudan, and evaluating the performance of a qualitative CareStart rapid diagnostic test as a point-of-care test. Blood samples were analyzed from 491 unrelated healthy persons in two malaria-endemic sites in eastern and central Sudan. A pre-structured questionnaire was used which included demographic data, risk factors and treatment history. G6PD levels were measured using spectrophotometry (SPINREACT) and first-generation qualitative CareStart rapid tests. G6PD variants (202 G>A; 376 A>G) were determined by PCR/RFLP, with a subset confirmed by Sanger sequencing. The prevalence of G6PDd by spectrophotometry was 5.5% (27/491; at 30% of adjusted male median, AMM); 27.3% (134/491; at 70% of AMM); and 13.1% (64/490) by qualitative CareStart rapid diagnostic test. The first-generation CareStart rapid diagnostic test had an overall sensitivity of 81.5% (95%CI: 61.9 to 93.7) and negative predictive value of 98.8% (97.3 to 99.6). All persons genotyped across both study sites were wild type for the G6PD G202 variant. For G6PD A376G all participants in New Halfa had wild type AA (100%), while in Khartoum the AA polymorphism was found in 90.7%; AG in 2.5%; and GG in 6.8%. Phenotypic G6PD B was detected in 100% of tested participants in New Halfa while in Khartoum, the phenotypes observed were B (96.2%), A (2.8%), and AB (1%). The African A- phenotype was not detected in this study population. Overall, G6PDd prevalence in Sudan is low-to-moderate but highly heterogeneous. Point-of-care testing with the qualitative CareStart rapid diagnostic test demonstrated moderate performance with moderate sensitivity and specificity but high negative predicative value. The two sites harbored primarily the African B phenotype. A country-wide survey is recommended to understand GP6PD deficiencies more comprehensively in Sudan.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diagnostic Tests, Routine / methods*
  • Female
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Genotype
  • Glucosephosphate Dehydrogenase / genetics*
  • Glucosephosphate Dehydrogenase / metabolism
  • Glucosephosphate Dehydrogenase Deficiency / diagnosis
  • Glucosephosphate Dehydrogenase Deficiency / enzymology
  • Glucosephosphate Dehydrogenase Deficiency / epidemiology
  • Glucosephosphate Dehydrogenase Deficiency / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Malaria / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Point-of-Care Testing
  • Sudan / epidemiology
  • Young Adult


  • Glucosephosphate Dehydrogenase

Grant support

Funding for this study was provided by the WHO/TDR/EMRO small grant scheme (SGS13/36; to MMAA), and by UMass (faculty research fund 2018-SPHHS; to AAL). The funders had no role in study design, data collection/analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.