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Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2013 Jun;88(6):1116-23. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.12-0701. Epub 2013 Mar 18.

Plasmodium vivax isolates from Cambodia and Thailand show high genetic complexity and distinct patterns of P. vivax multidrug resistance gene 1 (pvmdr1) polymorphisms.

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Division of Infectious Diseases, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.


Plasmodium vivax accounts for an increasing fraction of malaria infections in Thailand and Cambodia. We compared P. vivax genetic complexity and antimalarial resistance patterns in the two countries. Use of a heteroduplex tracking assay targeting the merozoite surface protein 1 gene revealed that vivax infections in both countries are frequently polyclonal (84%), with parasites that are highly diverse (HE = 0.86) but closely related (GST = 0.18). Following a history of different drug policies in Thailand and Cambodia, distinct patterns of antimalarial resistance have emerged: most Cambodian isolates harbor the P. vivax multidrug resistance gene 1 (pvmdr1) 976F mutation associated with chloroquine resistance (89% versus 8%, P < 0.001), whereas Thai isolates more often display increased pvmdr1 copy number (39% versus 4%, P < 0.001). Finally, genotyping of paired isolates from individuals suspected of suffering relapse supports a complex scheme of relapse whereby recurrence of multiple identical variants is sometimes accompanied by the appearance of novel variants.

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