Detection of malaria in insectary-reared Anopheles gambiae using near-infrared spectroscopy
Maia MF., Kapulu M., Muthui M., Wagah MG., Ferguson HM., Dowell FE., Baldini F., Cartwright L-R.
AbstractLarge-scale surveillance of mosquito populations is crucial to assess the intensity of vector-borne disease transmission and the impact of control interventions. However, there is a lack of accurate, cost-effective and high-throughput tools for mass-screening of vectors. This study demonstrates proof-of-concept that near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) is capable of rapidly identifying laboratory strains of human malaria infection in African mosquito vectors. By using partial least square regression models based on malaria-infected and uninfected Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes, we showed that NIRS can detect oocyst- and sporozoite-stage Plasmodium falciparum infections with 88% and 95% accuracy, respectively. Accurate, low-cost, reagent-free screening of mosquito populations enabled by NIRS could revolutionize surveillance and elimination strategies for the most important human malaria parasite in its primary African vector species. Further research is needed to evaluate how the method performs in the field following adjustments in the training datasets to include data from wild-caught infected and uninfected mosquitoes.