Background Mass drug administration (MDA) can rapidly reduce the burden of Plasmodium falciparum (Pf). However, concerns remain about its contribution to select for antimalarial drug resistance. Methods We used Sanger sequencing and real-time PCR to determine the proportion of molecular markers associated with antimalarial resistance (k13, pfpm2, pfmdr1 and pfcrt) in Pf isolates collected before (n = 99) and after (n = 112) the implementation of two monthly MDA rounds with dihydroartemisinin–piperaquine (DHAp) for two consecutive years in Magude district of Southern Mozambique. Results None of the k13 polymorphisms associated with artemisinin resistance were observed in the Pf isolates analyzed. The proportion of Pf isolates with multiple copies of pfpm2, an amplification associated with piperaquine resistance, was similar in pre- (4.9%) and post-MDA groups (3.4%; p = 1.000). No statistically significant differences were observed between pre- and post-MDA groups in the proportion of Pf isolates neither with mutations in pfcrt and pfmdr1 genes, nor with the carriage of pfmdr1 multiple copies (p>0.05). Conclusions This study does not show any evidence of increased frequency of molecular makers of antimalarial resistance after MDA with DHAp in southern Mozambique where markers of antimalarial resistance were absent or low at the beginning of the intervention.
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