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Molecular assessment of drug resistance in Plasmodium falciparum from Bahr El Gazal Province, Sudan

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Summary Aims 

To assess resistance to chloroquine (CQ) and sulphadoxine/pyrimethamine (SP) in a Sudanese parasite population. Methods 

Recurrent security problems in Akuem, Sudan, prevented us from conducting a classical in vivo treatment efficacy study. Instead we genotyped key mutations in the chloroquine resistance transporter (pfcrt), the multidrug resistance gene (pfmdr1), dihydrofolate reductase (dhfr) and dihydropteroate synthase (dhps). We genotyped the K76T mutation in pfcrt and the N86Y mutation in (pfmdr) by restriction digestion of fluorescent end-labelled polymerase chain reaction (PCR) products, while we genotyped codons 16, 51, 59, 108 and 164 in dhfr and codons 436, 437, 540, 581 and 613 in dhps by primer extension in 100 blood samples. Results 

Sixty-three percent of parasites carried the 76T mutation at pfcrt critical for CQ resistance, while 31% carried the 86Y mutation at pfmdr that is associated with, although not essential, for CQ resistance. We found five dhfr alleles: 60% of infections contained wild-type dhfr alleles, 3% had one mutation, 34% had two mutations, while 3% had three mutations. We found three dhps alleles: 47% were wild type, 44% had one mutation, while 9% had two mutations. Conclusions 

We expect high levels of treatment failure (RI–RIII) with CQ (20–40%) and predict efficient treatment with SP. However, dhfr alleles with three mutations (51I, 59R, 108N) are present as are dhps alleles with two mutations (437G, 540E). Successful treatment with SP is therefore likely to be short-lived.
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Keywords: chloroquine; dhfr; dhps; pfcrt; pfmdr; pyrimethamine/sulphadoxine

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research, San Antonio, TX, USA 2: Médecins Sans Frontières, Paris, France

Publication date: December 1, 2003

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