BecA researchers find more accurate test for sleeping sickness

BecA Hub Scientists have developed new assays that significantly reduce the labour, time and cost of carrying out polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests which drastically reduces the labour, time and cost of carrying out standard PCR tests — opening the way for large-scale studies. 

The study established the suitability of using Internal Transcribed Spacer (ITS) based PCR assays for large-scale epidemiological studies, according to Samuel Thumbi and Francis McOdimba of the Biosciences eastern and central Africa (BecA) Hub, Reuben Mosi, a lecturer at the University of Nairobi’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Joseph Jung’a from the Institute of Primate Research. Although microscopy remains the most appropriate method for the clinical diagnosis in a field setting, it lacks sensitivity to be considered as a gold standard and the molecular methods provide an alternative gold standard for the detection of trypanosomiasis. The ITS based assays definitely make PCR diagnosis more accurate, faster and less costly to carry out for large numbers of samples. This promises the possibility of carrying out large-epidemiological studies on African trypanosomiasis in a simple and cost-effective way.


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