Comparison of the OptiMAL rapid test with routine microscopic examination of Giemsa-Stained Thick Blood Film for diagnosis of malaria.J Med Assoc Thai. 2001 Mar; 84(3):357-63.JM
The OptiMAL is a rapid immunodiagnostic test developed by Flow Inc., Portland, Oreg. for diagnosis and differentiation of P. falciparum and non P. falciparum malaria infection. It has been based on detection of circulating parasite lactate dehydrogenase enzyme (pLDH), produced by live Plasmodium parasites. The purpose of this study was to compare the efficacy of the OptiMAL test with routine microscopic examination of Giemsa-Stained Thick Blood Film (routine GS-TBF) for the diagnosis of malaria at a local malaria clinic in a hyperendemic area of Thailand by using a standard GS-TBF (standard GS-TBF) as reference. One hundred and seventy five patients attending the clinic were recruited; 50, 42 and 83 were falciparum malaria, vivax malaria and non-malaria patients, respectively. Compared with the reference, the OptiMAL test had sensitivities of 92 per cent and 97.6 per cent, whereas, the routine GS-TBF had sensitivities of 81.3 per cent and 81 per cent for the detection of P. falciparum and P. vivax, respectively. Both tests showed no false positive resulting in 100 per cent specificities. However, the OptiMAL test was able to detect only 20 per cent of infection with less than 200 parasitaemia/microlitre. It was also shown in our study that the OptiMAL test was advantageous in follow-up of the treatment outcome. No false positive occurred among 40 follow-up cases. The OptiMAL test detected malaria infection more accurately than the routine GS-TBF (p < 0.05) and was simple, easy to perform and rapid. It is an alternative tool for the diagnosis of malaria in a hyperendemic area where experienced microscopists are not available.