Frequency of G6PD mediterranean in individuals with and without malaria in southern Pakistan

Bushra Moiz, Aga Khan University
Haroon Muhammad Arshad, Aga Khan University
Ahmed Raheem, Aga Khan University
Hasan Hayat, Haematology & Transfusion Medicine
Najia Karim Ghanchi, Aga Khan University
Beg Asim M., Aga Khan University


Pakistan has an estimated annual burden of 1.5 million malaria cases. The current situation calls for an effective malaria control and eradication programme in this country. Currently, primaquine is an attractive option for eliminating reservoirs of Plasmodium vivax hypnozoites and killing gametocytes of Plasmodium falciparum. However, this drug causes haemolysis in individuals who are glucose-6-phosphate (G6PD) deficient. It is important to map G6PD deficiency and malaria distribution in Pakistan to design an effective malaria eradication regimen. Frequency of G6PD deficiency (G6PDd) in malaria patients has not been reported from Pakistan in any meaningful way. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the frequency of G6PD c.563C>T (G6PD Mediterranean) in male individuals with and without falciparum malaria.
Methods: Two hundred and ten archived DNA samples from males (110 from falciparum malaria patients and 100 from healthy individuals) were utilized in this study. Healthy blood donors were selected based on stringent pre-defined criteria. Patients were confirmed for malaria parasites on microscopy and or immune chromatographic assay detecting P. falciparum histidine-rich protein 2. Parasitaemia was also computed. DNA samples were tested for G6PD c.563C>T mutation through PCR-RFLP according to the previously defined protocol and its allelic frequency was computed.
Results: G6PD c.563C>T was observed in four of 110 patients with falciparum malaria and in two of 100 healthy donors. Mean (± SD) haemoglobin, median (IQR) platelet and median (IQR) parasite count in G6PD-deficient malaria-patients were 8.9 ± 0.9 g/dL, 124 × 109/L (IQR 32, 171) and 57,920/μL of blood (IQR 12,920, 540,000) respectively.
Conculsion: Cumulative allelic frequency for G6PD 563c.C>T was 0.0285 detected in 6 of 210 X-chromosomes in Southern Pakistan. Frequency for this G6PD allele was 0.0364 in malaria-patients and 0.0200 in healthy individuals. Large studies including females are needed to elucidate the true burden of G6PDd in malaria-endemic areas. The information will enable local health policy makers to design effective strategies for eliminating malaria form this region.