In our aim to eliminate malaria, more sensitive tools to detect residual transmission are quickly becoming essential. Antimalarial antibody responses persist in the blood after a malaria infection and provide a wider window to detect exposure to infection compared to parasite detection metrics. Here, we aimed to select antibody responses associated with recent and cumulative exposure to malaria using cross-sectional survey data from Haiti, an elimination setting. Using a multiplex bead assay, we generated data for antibody responses (immunoglobulin G) to 23 Plasmodium falciparum targets in 29,481 participants across three surveys. This included one community-based survey in which participants were enrolled during household visits and two sentinel group surveys in which participants were enrolled at schools and health facilities. First, we correlated continuous antibody responses with age (Spearman) to determine which showed strong age-related associations indicating accumulation over time with limited loss. AMA-1 and MSP-119 antibody levels showed the strongest correlation with age (0.47 and 0.43, p < 0.001) in the community-based survey, which was most representative of the underlying age structure of the population, thus seropositivity to either of these antibodies was considered representative of cumulative exposure to malaria. Next, in the absence of a gold standard for recent exposure, we included antibody responses to the remaining targets to predict highly sensitive rapid diagnostic test (hsRDT) status using receiver operating characteristic curves. For this, only data from the survey with the highest hsRDT prevalence was used (7.2%; 348/4,849). The performance of the top two antigens in the training dataset (two-thirds of the dataset; n = 3,204)-Etramp 5 ag 1 and GLURP-R0 (area-under-the-curve, AUC, 0.892 and 0.825, respectively)-was confirmed in the test dataset (remaining one-third of the dataset; n = 1,652, AUC 0.903 and 0.848, respectively). As no further improvement was seen by combining seropositivity to GLURP-R0 and Etramp 5 ag 1 (p = 0.266), seropositivity to Etramp 5 ag 1 alone was selected as representative of current or recent exposure to malaria. The validation of antibody responses associated with these exposure histories simplifies analyses and interpretation of antibody data and facilitates the application of results to evaluate programs.
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