Science Translational Medicine 02 Jan 2019:
Vol. 11, Issue 473, eaan4479
Spotting subclinical infection
The gametocyte sexual form of Plasmodium falciparum, a parasite that causes human malaria, is responsible for mosquito-borne transmission of infection. Some individuals carry low concentrations of the parasite (subclinical infection), which makes detection and eradication difficult. Tao et al. developed a rapid lateral flow assay that detects a female gametocyte-specific protein, PSSP17, in saliva. Compared to standard molecular and microscopic analyses of matched blood samples, the rapid diagnostic assay could detect submicroscopic parasite carriage in saliva from children and adults in Cameroon, Zambia, and Sierra Leone in clinical and nonclinical settings. This assay could help identify individuals with subclinical P. falciparum infections to reduce the infectious reservoir.