Preliminary Field Trial of a Radioimmunoassay for the Diagnosis of Malaria

H. AvrahamLautenberg Center for General and Tumor Immunology, and Kuvin Center for Tropical Diseases, Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, Hospital for Tropical Diseases and Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Jerusalem, Israel

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J. GolenserLautenberg Center for General and Tumor Immunology, and Kuvin Center for Tropical Diseases, Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, Hospital for Tropical Diseases and Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Jerusalem, Israel

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D. BunnagLautenberg Center for General and Tumor Immunology, and Kuvin Center for Tropical Diseases, Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, Hospital for Tropical Diseases and Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Jerusalem, Israel

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P. SuntharasamaiLautenberg Center for General and Tumor Immunology, and Kuvin Center for Tropical Diseases, Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, Hospital for Tropical Diseases and Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Jerusalem, Israel

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S. TharavanijLautenberg Center for General and Tumor Immunology, and Kuvin Center for Tropical Diseases, Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, Hospital for Tropical Diseases and Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Jerusalem, Israel

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K. T. HarinasutaLautenberg Center for General and Tumor Immunology, and Kuvin Center for Tropical Diseases, Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, Hospital for Tropical Diseases and Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Jerusalem, Israel

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D. T. SpiraLautenberg Center for General and Tumor Immunology, and Kuvin Center for Tropical Diseases, Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, Hospital for Tropical Diseases and Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Jerusalem, Israel

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D. SulitzeanuLautenberg Center for General and Tumor Immunology, and Kuvin Center for Tropical Diseases, Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, Hospital for Tropical Diseases and Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Jerusalem, Israel

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A radioimmunoassay (RIA) has been developed for the detection of Plasmodium falciparum in infected blood. The assay is based on the ability of solubilized, infected red blood cells (RBC) (P. falciparum “antigen”) to combine with anti-P. falciparum antibodies and thus prevent the subsequent interaction of the latter with “antigen”-coated microtiter plates. A preliminary trial was carried out in Thailand to determine the usefulness of the RIA for the immunodiagnosis of malaria. Blood samples from malarious and non-malarious patients were examined both by standard microscopy and by RIA. Efficient solubilization of the parasites proved to be a major requirement for the successful performance of the RIA. Sonication or freezing and thawing, which were perfectly satisfactory for the solubilization of cultured, infected RBC, were found to be totally inadequate when applied to RBC taken from patients. However, parasites in RBC from patients could be solubilized efficiently by treatment with detergents (e.g., NP40, Triton X-100, etc.). Of the 108 blood samples tested, 23 were found positive for falciparum parasitemia by microscopy and 39 by RIA. One sample from a patient with patent falciparum parasitemia and three with patent vivax parasitemia were negative by RIA. Ten of the samples positive only by RIA belonged to patients with recent malarial infection, as shown by microscopy. Thus, the RIA detected almost all of the patients with microscopic evidence of falciparum malaria. The proportion of false positives in the RIA test was low.

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