Rapid and specific diagnosis of malaria remains one of the main strategies to fight the disease. The diagnosis is made primarily by the simple and low-cost thick drop technique, considered the gold standard test. However, the requirement for good quality microscopes and well-trained personnel often lead to inaccurate diagnosis, especially in cases of mixed infections or low parasitemia. Although PCR-based tests can help in these situations, this technique requires large and sensitive equipments, being unsuitable for point of care (POC) settings. A myriad of POC diagnostic tests have being developed in the last years, relying on molecular methods but also on novel strategies. New platforms, miniaturization techniques, and multiplexing possibilities promise great potential to improve disease diagnostics through fast and accurate detection of cases, even at remote places. Here, we will address the main POC strategies developed for the diagnosis of malaria, highlighting their strengths and weakness as POC applications.
Part of the book: Current Topics and Emerging Issues in Malaria Elimination