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Despite commendable progress in control of malaria in India and other countries, there are hidden reservoirs of parasites in human hosts that continually feed malaria transmission. Submicroscopic infections are a significant proportion in low-endemic settings like India, and these infections possess transmission potential. Hence, these reservoirs of infection add to the existing roadblocks for malaria elimination. It is crucial that this submerged burden of malaria is detected and treated to curtail further transmission. The currently used diagnostic tools, including the so-called “gold standard” microscopy, are incapable of detecting these submicroscopic infections and thus are suboptimal. It is an opportune time to usher in more sensitive molecular tools like polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for routine diagnosis at all levels of healthcare as an additional diagnostic tool in routine settings. PCR assays have been developed into user-friendly formats for field diagnostics and are near-point-of-collection. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic in India, these are being used rampantly across the country. The facilities created for COVID-19 diagnosis can easily be co-opted and harnessed for malaria diagnosis to augment surveillance by the inclusion of molecular techniques like PCR in the routine national malaria control program.
Authors’ addresses: Manju Rahi, Indian Council of Medical Research, New Delhi, India, E-mail: email@example.com. Rishu Sharma and Poonam Saroha, Indian Council of Medical Research-National Institute of Malaria Research, New Delhi, India, E-mails: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Rini Chaturvedi, International Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, New Delhi, India, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Praveen K. Bharti, Indian Council of Medical Research-National Institute of Malaria Research, New Delhi, India, E-mail: email@example.com. Amit Sharma, Indian Council of Medical Research-National Institute of Malaria Research, New Delhi, India, and International Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, New Delhi, India, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.