Document Type



Pathology (East Africa)


In eastern and southern Africa, there has been a rapid increase in the prevalence of alleles with mutations in the Plasmodium falciparum dihydrofolate reductase gene (dhfr) associated with increased risk of clinical failure of sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (S/P). Molecular methods for surveillance of these mutations are now widespread, but the usual analysis detects only the most prevalent allele in a polyclonal sample. We used a yeast-expression system to identify rare, highly pyrimethamine-resistant alleles of dhfr in isolates from 5 African countries-Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Gabon, and Nigeria. Only the isolates from Nigeria yielded significant numbers of novel resistant alleles, and only 1 of the alleles from any location showed a >3-fold increase in resistance to S/P or to chlorproguanil-dapsone. Overall, these results suggest that dhfr alleles that confer high levels of resistance to antifolates are rare, even in eastern and southern Africa, where pyrimethamine has been intensively used.


This work was published prior to author’s joining Aga Khan University

Publication (Name of Journal)

Journal of Infectious Diseases

Included in

Pathology Commons