The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12936-017-1780-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Alfons Jimenez and Roxanne R. Rees-Channer contributed equally to this work
Alfredo Mayor and Xavier C. Ding also contributed equally to this work
Rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) are today the most widely used method for malaria diagnosis and are recommended, alongside microscopy, for the confirmation of suspected cases before the administration of anti-malarial treatment. The diagnostic performance of RDTs, as compared to microscopy or PCR is well described but the actual analytical sensitivity of current best-in-class tests is poorly documented. This value is however a key performance indicator and a benchmark value needed to developed new RDTs of improved sensitivity.
Thirteen RDTs detecting either the Plasmodium falciparum histidine rich protein 2 (HRP2) or the plasmodial lactate dehydrogenase (pLDH) antigens were selected from the best performing RDTs according to the WHO–FIND product testing programme. The analytical sensitivity of these products was evaluated using a range of reference materials including P. falciparum and Plasmodium vivax whole parasite samples as well as recombinant proteins.
The best performing HRP2-based RDTs could detect all P. falciparum cultured samples at concentrations as low as 0.8 ng/mL of HRP2. The limit of detection of the best performing pLDH-based RDT specifically detecting P. vivax was 25 ng/mL of pLDH.
The analytical sensitivity of P. vivax and Pan pLDH-based RDTs appears to vary considerably from product to product, and improvement of the limit-of-detection for P. vivax detecting RDTs is needed to match the performance of HRP2 and Pf pLDH-based RDTs for P. falciparum. Different assays using different reference materials produce different values for antigen concentration in a given specimen, highlighting the need to establish universal reference assays.
Additional file 1. Analytical sensitivity of the HRP2 test lines of selected pLDH-based RDTs.
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- Analytical sensitivity of current best-in-class malaria rapid diagnostic tests
Roxanne R. Rees-Channer
Peter L. Chiodini
Iveth J. González
Xavier C. Ding
- BioMed Central
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