Monitoring the absence of local malaria transmissions in Yunnan


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This is one of two projects studying malaria transmission in Asia-pacific countries. Shanghai Jiao Tong University is the home institution for this project. View the Melbourne-based partner project.

This project aims to validate the use of serological markers of exposure to P.vivax, a parasite that causes malaria, to document the absence of local transmission in Yunnan.

The main objectives of this project are to:

  • Transfer the P. vivax serological marker assay to SJTU/ NIPD.
  • Explore the utility of these markers to determine the decrease and eventual absence of local transmission in population in the border region of Yunnan.
  • Develop diagnostic algorithms with improved specificity in elimination settings.
  • Apply the markers to confirm the absence or not of local transmission in case investigation of suspected malaria cases.

The details

China's Yunnan Province was the country's last region to eliminate malaria. Given that its close neighbours Myanmar and Laos have yet to eliminate the disease, monitoring the spread of infections is crucial to keeping the area malaria-free.

A serologic test checks for the presence or level of specific antibodies in the blood. Our team has recently developed serological markers that detect recent exposures to P. vivax, the parasite that causes malaria, with high precision.

This research project will verify the ability of these serological tests to detect local transmission using malaria samples collected pre-and post-elimination. Once the effectiveness of the test has been established, it will be applied to ongoing case investigations in Yunnan.

This epidemiological project ultimately aims to determine how useful serology is in determining whether malaria has been eradicated from a particular area or not.

Furthermore, this project will also shed light on how we can use serological markers to establish the absence of local transmission.

The graduate researcher on this project is: Hanqing Zhao

Supervision team

Shanghai Jiao Tong University supervisor:
Professor Xiao-Nong Zhou

University of Melbourne supervisor:
Professor Ivo Mueller

First published on 29 August 2022.

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