Novel metabarcoded DNA sequencing tool for the detection of Plasmodium species in malaria positive patients

Abdul Wahab, Ayaz Shaukat, Qasim Ali , Mubashir Hussain , Taj Ali Khan , M. Azmat Ullah Khan , Imran Rashid, Mushtaq A Saleem, Mike Evans, Neil Sargison, Umer Chaudhry

Research output: Working paper


Various PCR based methods have been described for the diagnosis of malaria, but most depend on the use of Plasmodium species-specific probes and primers; hence only the tested species are identified and there is limited available data on the true circulating species diversity. Sensitive diagnostic tools and platforms for their use are needed to detect Plasmodium species in both clinical cases and asymptomatic infections that contribute to disease transmission. We have been recently developed for the first time a novel high throughput haemoprotobiome metabarcoded DNA sequencing method and applied it for the quantification of haemoprotozoan parasites (Theleria and Babesia) of livestock. Here, we describe a novel, high throughput method using an Illumina MiSeq platform to demonstrate the proportions of Plasmodium species in metabarcoded DNA samples derived from human malaria patients. Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax positive control gDNA was used to prepare mock DNA pools of parasites to evaluate the detection threshold of the assay for each of the two species and to assess the accuracy of proportional quantification. We then applied the assay to malaria-positive human samples to show the species composition of Plasmodium communities in the Punjab province of Pakistan and in the Afghanistan-Pakistan tribal areas. The diagnostic performance of the deep amplicon sequencing method was compared to an immunochromatographic assay that is widely used in the region. Metabarcoded DNA sequencing showed better diagnostic performance, greatly increasing the estimated prevalence of Plasmodium infection. The next-generation sequencing method using metabarcoded DNA has potential applications in the diagnosis, surveillance, treatment, and control of Plasmodium infections.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherbioRxiv, at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Publication statusUnpublished - 10 Oct 2019


Dive into the research topics of 'Novel metabarcoded DNA sequencing tool for the detection of Plasmodium species in malaria positive patients'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this