Anti-malarial resistance in Mozambique: Absence of Plasmodium falciparum Kelch 13 (K13) propeller domain polymorphisms associated with resistance to artemisinins

Clemente da Silva, Daniela Matias, Brigite Dias, Beatriz Cancio, Miguel Silva, Rúben Viegas, Nordino Chivale, Sonia Luis, Crizolgo Salvador, Denise Duarte, Paulo Arnaldo, Sonia Enosse, Fatima Nogueira

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BACKGROUND: Malaria remains one of the most serious public health problems in sub-Saharan Africa and Mozambique is the world's fourth largest contributor, with 4.7% of disease cases and 3.6% of total deaths due to malaria. Its control relies on the fight against the vector and treatment of confirmed cases with anti-malarial drugs. Molecular surveillance is an important tool for monitoring the spread of anti-malarial drug resistance.

METHODS: A cross-sectional study recruited 450 participants with malaria infection detected by Rapid Diagnostic Tests, from three different study sites (Niassa, Manica and Maputo) between April and August 2021. Correspondent blood samples were collected on filter paper (Whatman® FTA® cards), parasite DNA extracted and pfk13 gene sequenced using Sanger method. SIFT software (Sorting Intolerant From Tolerant) was used, predict whether an amino acid substitution affects protein function.

RESULTS: No pfkelch13-mediated artemisinin resistance gene mutation was detected in this study settings. However, non-synonymous mutations were detected at prevalence of 10.2%, 6% and 5% in Niassa, Manica and Maputo, respectively. Most (56.3%) of the reported non-synonymous mutations were due to substitution at the first base of the codon, 25% at the second base and 18.8% at the third base. Additionally, 50% of non-synonymous mutations showed a SIFTscore bellow cut off value of 0.05, therefore, they were predicted to be deleterious.

CONCLUSION: These results do not show an emergence of artemisinin resistance cases in Mozambique. However, the increased number of novel non-synonymous mutations highlights the relevance of increasing the number of studies focused on the molecular surveillance of artemisinin resistance markers, for its early detection.

Original languageEnglish
Article number160
Pages (from-to)160
Number of pages6
JournalMalaria Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 19 May 2023


  • Anti-malarial resistance
  • Plasmodium falciparum
  • polymorphisms associated with resistance
  • resistance to artemisinins
  • Mozambique


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