The Asia-Pacific region faces formidable challenges in achieving malaria elimination by the proposed target in 2030. Molecular surveillance of Plasmodium parasites can provide important information on malaria transmission and adaptation, which can inform national malaria control programmes (NMCPs) in decision-making processes. In November 2019 a parasite genotyping workshop was held in Jakarta, Indonesia, to review molecular approaches for parasite surveillance and explore ways in which these tools can be integrated into public health systems and inform policy. The meeting was attended by 70 participants from 8 malaria-endemic countries and partners of the Asia Pacific Malaria Elimination Network. The participants acknowledged the utility of multiple use cases for parasite genotyping including: quantifying the prevalence of drug resistant parasites, predicting risks of treatment failure, identifying major routes and reservoirs of infection, monitoring imported malaria and its contribution to local transmission, characterizing the origins and dynamics of malaria outbreaks, and estimating the frequency of Plasmodium vivax relapses. However, the priority of each use case varies with different endemic settings. Although a one-size-fits-all approach to molecular surveillance is unlikely to be applicable across the Asia-Pacific region, consensus on the spectrum of added-value activities will help support data sharing across national boundaries. Knowledge exchange is needed to establish local expertise in different laboratory-based methodologies and bioinformatics processes. Collaborative research involving local and international teams will help maximize the impact of analytical outputs on the operational needs of NMCPs. Research is also needed to explore the cost-effectiveness of genetic epidemiology for different use cases to help to leverage funding for wide-scale implementation. Engagement between NMCPs and local researchers will be critical throughout this process.
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