Use of Oral Fluid Assay to Monitor Changes in Humoral Immunity to Plasmodium Falciparum in a region of declining Malaria transmission in southern Zambia
As the incidence of malaria decreases in southern Zambia, it is important to track the duration of immunity to the disease to anticipate and prevent future large outbreaks. The conventional method of collecting this data requires the use of blood specimens collected by venipuncture or as dried blood samples collected through finger prick. These are invasive and somewhat painful techniques that involve a potential biohazard and require training to administer. Research has shown that oral fluid (OF) samples are more acceptable by study participants, but few investigators have assessed the ability of this method to accurately detect antibodies to Plasmodium falciparum parasites. In this study, oral fluid samples, dried blood spots, and a demographic/malarial history survey will be collected from participants in Macha, Zambia. Enzyme immunoassays (EIA) will be used to measure IgG antibodies to whole Plasmodium falciparum antigens and optical density (OD) readings will be compared for oral fluid samples and dried blood spots to assess the correlation. Analyses will be stratified by age and OD values. Stata 11 will be used to find the Pearson's correlation coefficient between the two values and assess any relevant trends.