Surveillance is a key component of control and elimination programs. Malaria surveillance has been typically reliant on case reporting by health services, entomological estimates and parasitemia (Plasmodium species) point prevalence. However, these techniques become less sensitive and relatively costly as transmission declines. There is great potential for the development and application of serological biomarkers of malaria exposure as sero-surveillance tools to strengthen malaria control and elimination. Antibodies to malaria antigens are sensitive biomarkers of population-level malaria exposure and can be used to identify hotspots of malaria transmission, estimate transmission levels, monitor changes over time or the impact of interventions on transmission, confirm malaria elimination, and monitor re-emergence of malaria. Sero-surveillance tools could be used in reference laboratories or developed as simple point-of-care tests for community-based surveillance, and different applications and target populations dictate the technical performance required from assays that are determined by properties of antigens and antibody responses. To advance the development of sero-surveillance tools for malaria elimination, major gaps in our knowledge need to be addressed through further research. These include greater knowledge of potential antigens, the sensitivity and specificity of antibody responses, and the longevity of these responses and defining antigens and antibodies that differentiate between exposure to Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax. Additionally, a better understanding of the influence of host factors, such as age, genetics, and comorbidities on antibody responses in different populations is needed.
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