Diagnosis of parasitic diseases: old and new approaches

Interdiscip Perspect Infect Dis. 2009;2009:278246. doi: 10.1155/2009/278246. Epub 2009 Dec 30.

Abstract

Methods for the diagnosis of infectious diseases have stagnated in the last 20-30 years. Few major advances in clinical diagnostic testing have been made since the introduction of PCR, although new technologies are being investigated. Many tests that form the backbone of the "modern" microbiology laboratory are based on very old and labour-intensive technologies such as microscopy for malaria. Pressing needs include more rapid tests without sacrificing sensitivity, value-added tests, and point-of-care tests for both high- and low-resource settings. In recent years, research has been focused on alternative methods to improve the diagnosis of parasitic diseases. These include immunoassays, molecular-based approaches, and proteomics using mass spectrometry platforms technology. This review summarizes the progress in new approaches in parasite diagnosis and discusses some of the merits and disadvantages of these tests.