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Comparison of Two Commercial Assays with Expert Microscopy for Confirmation of Symptomatically Diagnosed Malaria

Authors
Publisher
American Society for Microbiology (ASM)
Publication Date
Source
PMC
Keywords
Disciplines
  • Biology
  • Medicine
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Unknown

Abstract

Conventional light microscopy has been the established method for malaria diagnosis. However, recently several nonmicroscopic rapid diagnostic tests have been developed for situations in which reliable microscopy may not be available. This study was conducted to evaluate the diagnostic performance of a recently introduced ICT Malaria Pf/Pv test. This assay detects Plasmodium falciparum histidine-rich protein 2 antigen (PfHRP-2) for P. falciparum diagnosis and pan-malarial antigen for P. vivax diagnosis. In this study we compared the performance of ICT Malaria Pf/Pv with microscopy of Giemsa-stained blood films and with an OptiMAL test that detects Plasmodium lactate dehydrogenase (pLDH) antigen. A total of 750 clinically suspected malaria patients were examined at local health centers in Kuwait. Both the antigen tests had a high degree of specificity (>98%) for detection of malaria infection. However, they were less sensitive than microscopy. Compared with microscopy the ICT Malaria PF/pf test failed to detect malaria infection in 93 (34%) of 271 malaria patients (11% of patients with P. falciparum and 37% of patients with P. vivax) and the OptiMAL test failed to detect malaria infection in 41 (15%) of 271 malaria patients (7% of patients with P. falciparum and 13% of patients with P. vivax). The sensitivities of the ICT Malaria Pf/Pv and OptiMAL tests for detection of P. falciparum infection were 81 and 87%, and those for detecting P. vivax were 58 to 79%, respectively. The sensitivity of the ICT Malaria Pf/Pv and OptiMAL tests decreased significantly to 23 and 44%, respectively, at parasite densities of <500/μl. Both of the tests also produced a number of false-positive results. Overall, the performance of the OptiMAL test was better than that of the ICT Malaria Pf/Pv test. However, our results raise particular concern over the sensitivity of the ICT Malaria Pf/Pv test for detection of P. vivax infection. Further developments appear necessary to improve the performance of the ICT Malaria Pf/Pv test.

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