A trial for a DNA diagnosis of Plasmodium vivax malaria recently reemerging in the Republic of Korea using microtiter plate hybridization assay.

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  • 1 Department of Parasitology, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Institute of Endemic Diseases, Seoul National University Medical Research Center, Korea. cjy@plaza.snu.ac.kr

The polymerase chain reaction-based microtiter plate hybridization (PCR-MPH) assay was utilized for a DNA diagnosis of Plasmodium vivax malaria, which has recently reemerged in the Republic of Korea. The subjects were 18 parasite-proven patients and 5 healthy controls. Follow-up blood samples were collected from 4 patients after a standard course of treatment. Polymerase chain reaction and electrophoresis of all the patients' blood showed a prominent band at the 138 base pair area, but not in the controls or after treating the patients. Hybridization of the PCR products with known species-specific probes of the 18S rRNA of various malaria species revealed strong positive reactions against the Plasmodium vivax-specific probe (absorbance 1.30-1.90 at 405 nm) in all of the patients. The absorbance was positively correlated with the degree of blood parasitemia, but with a borderline significance. Sequencing of the probe region of the Korean P. vivax revealed no significant variations from the typical P. vivax. The results show that the PCR-MPH is a highly useful technique for the DNA diagnosis of Korean vivax malaria.