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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 1680-5348Print version ISSN 1020-4989


OMS. A rapid dipstick antigen capture assay for the diagnosis of falciparum malaria. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 1997, vol.1, n.1, pp.41-47. ISSN 1680-5348.

Recent advances in the diagnosis of Plasmodium falciparum infections have made it possible to consider supplementing light microscopy with a standardized dipstick antigen capture assay based on the detection of a parasite-specific protein, which is secreted by the asexual blood stages and immature gametocytes but not by the other stages. Field trials indicate that this dipstick assay provides consistently reproducible results, with a threshold of detection of P. falciparum parasitaemia similar to that obtained by high quality routine malaria microscopy and a specificity and sensitivity of around 90% compared with standard thick blood film microscopy. The stability, reproducibility, and ease of use of the assay clearly indicate that it has potential for application in the management of malaria, particularly at the peripheral health care level, provided its accuracy can be assured and that it can be made affordable. Consideration should be given to its wider use where operational requirements and resources so justify, and where decisions are based on adequate evaluation of the existing health delivery systems.

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