Artemisinin Resistance-Associated K13 Polymorphisms of Plasmodium Falciparum in Southern Rwanda, 2010-2015

November 2016
Costanza Tacoli, Prabhanjan P Gai, Claude Bayingana, Kevin Sifft, Dominik Geus, Jules Ndoli, Augustin Sendegeya, Jean Bosco Gahutu, Frank P Mockenhaupt

Emerging artemisinin resistance is a threat to global malaria control. Mutations in the Plasmodium falciparum Kelch 13 (K13) propeller domain confer artemisinin resistance and constitute molecular markers for its detection and monitoring. We sequenced 222 P. falciparum isolates obtained from community children in the Huye District of southern Rwanda in 2010, 2014, and 2015 to investigate the presence of K13 polymorphisms. No polymorphisms were observed in 2010 but they were present in 2.5% and 4.5% in 2014 and 2015, respectively. In 2015, two isolates showed candidate K13 resistance mutations (P574L and A675V), which are common in southeast Asia and associated with delayed parasite clearance. K13 polymorphisms in southern Rwanda are infrequent but include variants associated with artemisinin resistance. Establishing correlations with local treatment response and in vitro resistance assays are needed in addition to further monitoring K13 polymorphisms in the study area.