There are two types of rapid diagnostic tests for malaria parasites. The first test can only tell you if you are infected with the malaria parasites, but it may be helpful in determining the type and severity of the infection. The second test, known as a polymerase chain reaction test, can tell whether you are infected with the malaria parasite worm. This test is useful if you suspect that you may have an infection with the disease but you have a low parasite count or have a vague blood smear. If the first is not appropriate, you may also consider testing for malaria antibodies.
The PCR method is not considered a rapid diagnostic test for malaria, but it has high sensitivity, which makes it useful for early diagnosis. It can identify up to five parasites per microliter of blood, and nested PCR methods allow detection of the smallest parasites. The PCR assays can be performed individually or multiplexed, and they can be used as a primary diagnostic method, to monitor treatment response, and as a sensitive standard for other rapid diagnostic methods.
While the sensitivity of the malaria RDTs is low, the sensitivity of the test depends on the expert. The sensitivity of the tests is based on the number of parasites per milliliter of blood. The result of the test depends on the concentration of malaria-causing antigens in the blood. Usually, the test is more sensitive when the blood contains more than one type of parasite. If the test detects more than one type of malaria, it may be more appropriate to conduct a second, higher-level malaria screening.
Most laboratories use a blood film to diagnose the presence of malaria parasites. The best samples are obtained from the earlobe or finger. However, venipuncture is acceptable if the sample is collected in an anticoagulant-coated tube. Because this procedure uses a highly sensitive antibody, it can be used for patients who have severe symptoms of the disease. The results are available within fifteen to twenty minutes.
The rapid diagnostic tests for malaria parasites use a combination of antibodies to detect a specific antigen in the blood. The antibody will recognize a specific antigen and form an antigen-antibody complex to identify it. This technique is used to distinguish between the different stages of the disease. The test will provide results in less than 20 minutes, depending on the type of blood. Most RDTs use the same technology, but the tests differ in the sensitivity of the test.
The sensitivity of malaria rapid diagnostic tests varies. The sensitivity of the test depends on the parasites in the blood. The rapid test can only detect a small proportion of the parasites, but it can be accurate. Using the PCR-based reference lab for the diagnosis will greatly increase the efficiency of the tests. In addition to this, it will reduce the costs of the diagnostics for the health care systems.