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Field Evaluation of the Photo-induced Electron Transfer Fluorogenic Primers (PET) Real-time PCR for the Detection of Plasmodium falciparum in Tanzania.

Talundzic, E., Maganga, M., Masanja, I. M., Peterson, D. S., Udhayakumar, V. and Lucchi, N. W. (2014) Field Evaluation of the Photo-induced Electron Transfer Fluorogenic Primers (PET) Real-time PCR for the Detection of Plasmodium falciparum in Tanzania. Malaria journal, 13 (1). p. 31. ISSN 1475-2875

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Accurate diagnosis of malaria infections remains challenging, especially in the identification of submicroscopic infections. New molecular diagnostic tools that are inexpensive, sensitive enough to detect low-level infections and suitable in laboratory settings of resource-limited countries are required for malaria control and elimination programmes. Here the diagnostic potential of a recently developed photo-induced electron transfer fluorogenic primer (PET) real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) called PET-PCR was investigated. This study aimed to (i) evaluate the use of this assay as a method for the detection of both Plasmodium falciparum and other Plasmodium species infections in a developing country's diagnostic laboratory; and, (ii) determine the assay's sensitivity and specificity compared to a nested 18S rRNA PCR. Samples used in this study were obtained from a previous study conducted in the region of Iringa, Tanzania. A total of 303 samples from eight health facilities in Tanzania were utilized for this evaluation. All samples were screened using the multiplex PET-PCR assay designed to detect Plasmodium genus and P. falciparum initially in laboratory in Tanzania and then repeated at a reference laboratory at the CDC in the USA. Microscopy data was available for all the 303 samples. A subset of the samples were tested in a blinded fashion to find the sensitivity and specificity of the PET-PCR compared to the nested 18S rRNA PCR. Compared to microscopy, the PET-PCR assay was 59% more sensitive in detecting P. falciparum infections. The observed sensitivity and specificity were 100% (95% confidence interval (CI0.95) = 94-100%) and (CI0.95 = 96-100%), respectively, for the PET-PCR assay when compared to nested 18S rRNA PCR. When compared to 18S rRNA PCR, microscopy had a low sensitivity of 40% (CI0.95 = 23-61%) and specificity of 100% (CI0.95 = 96-100%). The PET-PCR results performed in the field laboratory in Tanzania were in 100% concordance with the results obtained at the reference laboratory in the USA. The PET-PCR is a new molecular diagnostic tool with similar performance characteristics as commonly used PCR methods that is less expensive, easy to use, and amiable to large scale-surveillance studies in developing country settings.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Malaria, Molecular test, malaria, Plasmodium, falciparam, Iringa, Tanzania,
Subjects: Malaria > Diagnosis & treatment
Divisions: Ifakara Health Institute > Biomedical
Depositing User: Mr Joseph Madata
Date Deposited: 04 Feb 2014 06:39
Last Modified: 04 Feb 2014 06:39

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