Microscopy is frequently used for malaria diagnosis, but at low parasitemia, it becomes less sensitive and time consuming. Molecular tools allow for specific/sensitive diagnosis, but current formats, such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) combined with gel electrophoresis and real-time PCR assays, are difficult to implement in resource-poor settings. Development of a simple, fast, sensitive, and specific detection system, nucleic acid lateral flow immunoassay (NALFIA) for amplified pan-Plasmodium PCR products, is described. The NALFIA lower detection limit is 0.3 to 3 parasites/¿L, 10-fold more sensitive than gel electrophoresis analysis. Evaluating 650 clinically suspected malaria cases with the pan-Plasmodium assay under field conditions (rural Kenya) revealed that NALFIA detected more positives than microscopy (agreement, 95%; ¿ value = 0.85), and there was an excellent agreement between gel electrophoresis and NALFIA (98.5%; ¿ value = 0.96). In conclusion, NALFIA is more sensitive than microscopy and a good alternative to detect PCR products while circumventing using electricity or expensive equipment, making NALFIA the 1st step toward molecular field diagnosis.
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