Review: Emerging Nucleic Acid-Based Tests for Point-of-Care Detection of Malaria
Cordray, Michael S.
Richards-Kortum, Rebecca R.
Malaria remains a serious disease in the developing world. There is a growing consensus that new diagnostics are needed in low-resource settings. The ideal malaria diagnostic should be able to speciate; measure parasitemia; low-cost, quick, and simple to use; and capable of detecting low-level infections. A promising development are nucleic acid tests (NATs) for the diagnosis of malaria, which are well suited for point-of-care use because of their ability to detect low-level infections and speciate, and because they have high sensitivity and specificity. The greatest barrier to NAT use in the past has been its relatively high cost, and the amount of infrastructure required in the form of equipment, stable power, and reagent storage. This review describes recent developments to decrease the cost and run time, and increase the ease of use of NAT while maintaining their high sensitivity and specificity and low limit of detection at the point-of-care.