Chapter 45 : Overview of the Development, Utility, and Future of Molecular Diagnostics for Parasitic Diseases

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Molecular diagnostics are undoubtedly changing the practice of modern clinical parasitology. Molecular assays have been developed for virtually all parasites causing clinical infections in humans. This chapter focuses on the techniques that have made the greatest impact in the clinical parasitology laboratory to date, namely, monoplex and multiplex real-time PCR. To illustrate the wide-ranging applications of clinical molecular parasitology, the chapter examines the large body of work on malaria. Conventional and real-time PCR assays for the species causing human malaria are now available in several reference laboratories and may be used as stand-alone tests or in conjunction with microscopy for species identification, quantification, and detection of some mixed infections. Serology is widely used but may be of limited utility in circumstances where it is critical to make an accurate diagnosis. Despite the recent progress in molecular diagnostics, there are significant limitations that hinder widespread adoption in the clinical parasitology laboratory. The majority of clinical laboratories do not have the expertise to develop in-house tests and must rely on commercially available assays.

Citation: Pritt B, Rosenblatt J. 2011. Overview of the Development, Utility, and Future of Molecular Diagnostics for Parasitic Diseases, p 687-690. In Persing D, Tenover F, Tang Y, Nolte F, Hayden R, van Belkum A (ed), Molecular Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816834.ch45

Key Concept Ranking

Multiplex Real-Time PCR
Parasitic Diseases
Real-Time PCR
Trypanosoma brucei gambiense
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