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A Radioimmunoassay for the Diagnosis of Malaria

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  • 1 *Lautenberg Center for General and Tumor Immunology, Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem, Israel
  • 2 †Kuvin Center for Tropical Diseases, Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem, Israel
  • 3 ‡Research Institute for Diseases in a Tropical Environment of the South African Medical Research Council, Durban, South Africa
  • 4 §School of Pathology of the South African Institute for Medical Research and University of the Witwatersrand

A newly developed radioimmunoassay for the diagnosis of malaria has been tested in South Africa. The radioimmunoassay is an antibody binding-inhibition assay, based on a monoclonal antibody (D5) cross-reacting with Plasmodium berghei and P. falciparum. Washed solubilized red blood cells were incubated with the antibody and the residual binding activity was tested on antigen-coated microtiter plates. A sample was considered positive if it inhibited binding of the antibodies to an extent exceeding that of the microscopically negative blood samples. Blood was collected on 3 separate occasions from a total of 530 individuals living in a malaria-endemic area and was examined by radioimmunoassay and microscopy. Group I, consisting of 194 samples, yielded 12 samples positive by microscopy and 10 of these (83%) were also positive by radioimmunoassay. One sample in this group was “positive” in the radioimmunoassay but negative on microscopy (false positive). In the 320 samples of group 2, 13 were positive by microscopy and 6 (46%) by radioimmunoassay. Group 3, which included 16 samples preselected as positive by microscopic examination and 16 controls, was examined after 4 weeks storage at −20°C. Twelve samples (75%) were positive by radioimmunoassay. Tests carried out to determine the effect of blood storage on the activity of the antigen indicated that activity was preserved with little loss over a 3-month period.

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