A single-step, PCR-based method for the detection and differentiation of Plasmodium vivax and P. falciparum

Ann Trop Med Parasitol. 2003 Jan;97(1):15-21. doi: 10.1179/000349803125002535.


The ability to detect and differentiate between Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax is of great importance for the routine laboratory diagnosis of malaria, donor-blood screening and epidemiological studies. Most PCR-based methods for the discrimination of these two species require nested protocols or an additional hybridization reaction, leading to high labour costs and long turn-around times. A simple, time-effective and yet sensitive and specific technique, based on a multiplex PCR, has now been developed for the simultaneous detection and differentiation of P. falciparum and P. vivax in blood samples. Compared with the 'gold standard' of microscopy, this method had a sensitivity and specificity of 100%, with a detection limit of just one P. falciparum or three P. vivax parasites/microl blood.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA Restriction Enzymes / metabolism
  • DNA, Protozoan / analysis
  • Electrophoresis, Agar Gel / methods
  • Humans
  • Malaria / diagnosis
  • Malaria / parasitology
  • Plasmodium falciparum / isolation & purification*
  • Plasmodium vivax / isolation & purification*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • DNA, Protozoan
  • DNA Restriction Enzymes