Publications & Reports

Lessons for improved COVID-19 surveillance from the scale-up of malaria testing strategies.

Kerr G, Robinson LJ, Russell TL, Macdonald J
Genecology Research Centre, School of Science and Engineering, University of the Sunshine Coast, Sippy Downs, QLD, 4556, Australia.


Effective control of infectious diseases is facilitated by informed decisions that require accurate and timely diagnosis of disease. For malaria, improved access to malaria diagnostics has revolutionized malaria control and elimination programmes. However, for COVID-19, diagnosis currently remains largely centralized and puts many low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) at a disadvantage. Malaria and COVID-19 are infectious diseases that share overlapping symptoms. While the strategic responses to disease control for malaria and COVID-19 are dependent on the disease ecologies of each disease, the fundamental need for accurate and timely testing remains paramount to inform accurate responses. This review highlights how the roll-out of rapid diagnostic tests has been fundamental in the fight against malaria, primarily within the Asia Pacific and along the Greater Mekong Subregion. By learning from the successful elements of malaria control programmes, it is clear that improving access to point-of-care testing strategies for COVID-19 will provide a suitable framework for COVID-19 diagnosis in not only the Asia Pacific, but all malarious countries. In malaria-endemic countries, an integrated approach to point-of-care testing for COVID-19 and malaria would provide bi-directional benefits for COVID-19 and malaria control, particularly due to their paralleled likeness of symptoms, infection control strategies and at-risk individuals. This is especially important, as previous disease pandemics have disrupted malaria control infrastructure, resulting in malaria re-emergence and halting elimination progress. Understanding and combining strategies may help to both limit disruptions to malaria control and support COVID-19 control.

Link to publisher’s web site


  • Journal: Malaria Journal
  • Published: 20/07/2022
  • Volume: 21
  • Issue: 1
  • Pagination: 223