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pfmdr1 GENOTYPING AND IN VIVO MEFLOQUINE RESISTANCE ON THE THAI-MYANMAR BORDER

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  • 1 University of North Carolina School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology, Chapel Hill, North Carolina; University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Armed Forces Research Institute for the Medical Sciences, Bangkok, Thailand

Molecular markers have been proposed as a method of monitoring malaria drug resistance and could potentially be used to prolong the life span of antimalarial drugs. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the Plasmodium falciparum gene pfmdr1 and increased gene copy number have been associated with in vitro drug resistance but have not been well studied in vivo. In a prospective cohort study of malaria patients receiving mefloquine treatment on the Thai-Myanmar border, there was no significant association between either pfmdr1 SNPs or in vitro drug sensitivity and mefloquine resistance in vivo. Increased pfmdr1 gene copy number was significantly associated with recrudescence (relative risk 2.30, 95% CI 1.27–4.15). pfmdr1 gene copy number may be a useful surveillance tool for mefloquine-resistant falciparum malaria in Thailand.

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