The Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria Centre for Global Health (DPDM) is working with partners in countries in Africa, South and Central America and Asia to conduct surveillance for vaccine preventable diseases, malaria, and neglected tropical infections.
Multiplex bead assays (MBA) allow for simultaneous detection of antibodies to multiple antigens using small sample volume, making it possible to simultaneously measure exposure to several diseases and assess disease burden and vaccine coverage.
In Nigeria, a collaboration between Nigeria CDC, the Nigerian Ministry of health and multiple divisions at CDC–along with support from the Global Fund, PMI and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation–has supported establishment of laboratory capacity to conduct additional testing of samples from a large HIV impact survey: the Nigeria HIV/AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS).
Despite restrictions on travel and limitations on laboratory work because of the COVID-19 pandemic, technical staff from DPDM have provided remote support and the lab has completed testing for more than 40,000 samples. The results are already being used to inform immunization and malaria control activities.
CDC has a long history fighting malaria. To prevent a spike in malaria deaths or COVID-19 complications due to malaria, core interventions to prevent and control malaria can help reduce the overall strain on health systems and should continue.
While the global community responds to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is vital that we do not lose ground in the fight against malaria. The World Health Organization (WHO), with technical input from CDC and the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), recently developed and released “Tailoring malaria interventions in the COVID-19 response” and “Maintaining Essential Services for Malaria in Low-Resource Countries” to help address ongoing concerns and challenges.