Point of care testing for malaria using LAMP, loop mediated isothermal amplification. For over a century the laboratory diagnosis of malaria has relied on visualization of the parasite in blood smears. But microscopy is time and labor consuming and often inaccurate due to the considerable training and experience required. About 2 decades ago, immunochromatographic rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) were introduced, providing a simpler and more rapid point of care diagnostic. However, RDTs, like blood smears, are limited in the detection of low-density infections. Nucleic acid amplification based assays offer markedly improved sensitivity, but standard polymerase chain reaction (PCR) diagnostics require hours of processing time, sophisticated technical skill, and expensive equipment to perform. Loop mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) may offer the best of both worlds for malaria diagnostics, with the sensitivity of PCR but speed closer to that of RDTs.
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