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01.12.2019 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2019 Open Access

Malaria Journal 1/2019

A two-colour multiplexed lateral flow immunoassay system to differentially detect human malaria species on a single test line

Malaria Journal > Ausgabe 1/2019
Jinsu Kim, Xiangkun Elvis Cao, Julia L. Finkelstein, Washington B. Cárdenas, David Erickson, Saurabh Mehta
Wichtige Hinweise
Jinsu Kim and Xiangkun Elvis Cao contributed equally to this work

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Malaria continues to impose a tremendous burden in terms of global morbidity and mortality, yet even today, a large number of diagnoses are presumptive resulting in lack of or inappropriate treatment.


In this work, a two-colour lateral flow immunoassay (LFA) system was developed to identify infections by Plasmodium spp. and differentiate Plasmodium falciparum infection from the other three human malaria species (Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium ovale, Plasmodium malariae). To achieve this goal, red and blue colours were encoded to two markers on a single test line of strips, for simultaneous detection of PfHRP2 (red), a marker specific for P. falciparum infection, and pLDH (blue), a pan-specific marker for infections by all species of Plasmodium. The assay performance was first optimized and evaluated with recombinant malarial proteins spiked in washing buffer at various concentrations from 0 to 1000 ng mL−1. The colour profiles developed on the single test line were discriminated and quantified: colour types corresponded to malaria protein species; colour intensities represented protein concentration levels.


The limit of detection (the lowest concentrations of malaria antigens that can be distinguished from blank samples) and the limit of colour discrimination (the limit to differentiate pLDH from PfHRP2) were defined for the two-colour assay from the spiked buffer test, and the two limits were 31.2 ng mL−1 and 7.8 ng mL−1, respectively. To further validate the efficacy of the assay, 25 human whole blood frozen samples were tested and successfully validated against ELISA and microscopy results: 15 samples showed malaria negative; 5 samples showed P. falciparum positive; 5 samples showed P. falciparum negative, but contained other malaria species.


The assay provides a simple method to quickly identify and differentiate infection by different malarial parasites at the point-of-need and overcome the physical limitations of traditional LFAs, improving the multiplexing potential for simultaneous detection of various biomarkers.
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