Volume 97, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Malaria transmission-blocking vaccines (TBV) have been evaluated in field trials in Mali since 2013. However, the assays currently used to measure serum antibody TB activity (TBA) after vaccination are highly variable, in part due to the lack of optimization and standardization for field assays in which mosquitoes feed on gametocytemic blood. Herein, we report a study conducted in Bancoumana village, Mali, where we identify and optimize the parameters that contribute to successful mosquito feeding outcomes in both direct skin feeds (DSFs) and direct membrane feeding assays (DMFA). These parameters include: 1) mosquito age, 2) duration of mosquito starvation prior to feeding, 3) membrane selection for DMFA, 4) anatomical location of DSF feeding (arm, calf, and ankle), and 5) time of day for DSF (dawn or dusk). We found that younger mosquitoes were significantly associated with higher feeding, survival, and infection rates. Longer starvation times were positively, but not significantly, associated with higher infection rates, but were negatively associated with feeding and survival. Membrane type and body location did not affect infection outcome significantly. Although dusk was found to be associated with higher infection rates, this may be confounded by the time from positive blood smear. Based on these findings, we make specific recommendations for optimal feeding parameters in the different assay types to maximize the chance of detecting parasite transmission in a standardized manner.


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  • Received : 19 Dec 2016
  • Accepted : 17 Apr 2017

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