BioScience Trends. 2018;12(5):510-514. (DOI: 10.5582/bst.2018.01198)

Considerations on PCR-based methods for malaria diagnosis in China malaria diagnosis reference laboratory network.

Yin J, Li M, Yan H, Zhou S


Precise diagnosis is a key measurement for malaria control and elimination, traditional microscopy and rapid diagnostic tests cannot satisfy the requirements especially in the low transmission endemic areas or in the malaria elimination phase. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) with high sensitivity and specificity can be considered as a diagnostic standard while no uniform PCR assay was established due to variations in their performance and lack of formal external quality assurance programs for validation for PCR assays in use. Here, 24 articles including 43 paired comparative evaluations limited to paired comparison of diagnostic performance between real-time PCR and conventional PCR to detect plasmodium in blood samples of human subjects from clinics or the field are systematically summarized. And according to the Landis and Koch classification, nineteen pairs showed almost perfect agreement, followed by 8 pairs of moderate agreement and 4 pairs of good agreement, while the kappa values of 12 pairs couldn't be examined. Moreover, the performance of 14 pairs were completely the same and 8 pairs had no differences, but 14 pairs were significant different including 8 pairs of real-time PCR with better performance than conventional PCR. Therefore, it is still an outstanding issue to choose PCR methods, and more work such as the standardization of materials and methods in use and their availability are needed to settle priority to better promote the role of malaria diagnosis reference laboratories.

KEYWORDS: Plasmodium species, real-time PCR, conventional PCR, reference laboratory, quality assurance

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