Molecular approaches to malaria and babesiosis diagnosis.

G. L. McLaughlin, S. Montenegro-James, M. H. Vodkin, D. Howe, M. Toro, E. Leon, R. Armijos, I. Kakoma, B. M. Greenwood, M. Hassan-King

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7 Scopus citations


The development of additional methods for detecting and identifying Babesia and Plasmodium infections may be useful in disease monitoring, management and control efforts. The preliminary evaluate synthetic peptide-based serodiagnosis, a hydrophilic sequence (DDESEFDKEK) was selected from the published BabR gene of B. bovis. Immunization of rabbits and cattle with the hemocyanin-conjugated peptide elicited antibody responses that specifically detected both P. falciparum and B. bovis antigens by immunofluorescence and Western blots. Using a dot-ELISA with this peptide, antisera from immunized and naturally-infected cattle, and immunized rodents, were specifically detected. Reactivity was weak and correlated with peptide immunization or infection. DNA-based detection using repetitive DNA was species-specific in dot-blot formats for B. bovis DNA, and in both dot-blot and in situ formats for P. falciparum; a streamlined enzyme-linked synthetic DNA assay for P. falciparum detected 30 parasites/mm3 from patient blood using either colorimetric (2-15 h color development) or chemiluminescent detection (0.5-6-min exposures). Serodiagnostic and DNA hybridization methods may be complementary in the respective detection of both chronic and acute infections. However, recent improvements in the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) make feasible a more sensitive and uniform approach to the diagnosis of these and other infectious disease complexes, with appropriate primers and processing methods. An analysis of ribosomal DNA genes of Plasmodium and Toxoplasma identified Apicomplexa-conserved sequence regions. Specific and distinctive PCR profiles were obtained for primers spanning the internal transcribed spacer locus for each of several Plasmodium and Babesia species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-68
Number of pages12
JournalMemórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz
Volume87 Suppl 3
StatePublished - 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)


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