Volume 87, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Malaria remains a serious disease in the developing world. There is a growing consensus that new diagnostics are needed in low-resource settings. The ideal malaria diagnostic should be able to speciate; measure parasitemia; low-cost, quick, and simple to use; and capable of detecting low-level infections. A promising development are nucleic acid tests (NATs) for the diagnosis of malaria, which are well suited for point-of-care use because of their ability to detect low-level infections and speciate, and because they have high sensitivity and specificity. The greatest barrier to NAT use in the past has been its relatively high cost, and the amount of infrastructure required in the form of equipment, stable power, and reagent storage. This review describes recent developments to decrease the cost and run time, and increase the ease of use of NAT while maintaining their high sensitivity and specificity and low limit of detection at the point-of-care.

[open-access] This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms and of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene's Re-use License which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


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  • Received : 02 Nov 2011
  • Accepted : 02 May 2012
  • Published online : 01 Aug 2012

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