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Comparison of different PCR protocols for the detection and diagnosis of Plasmodium falciparum


An assessment of differing PCR protocols for the diagnosis of Plasmodium falciparum infection was performed on samples from an area of holoendemic malaria transmission in western Burkina Faso. The PCR protocols had generally high sensitivities (>92%) and specificities (>69%), but the negative predictive values (NPV) were moderate and differed widely among the PCR protocols tested. These PCR protocols that amplified either the P. falciparum pfcrt gene or the small subunit ribosomal DNA were the most reliable diagnostic tools. However, the moderate NPV imply that more than one PCR protocol should be used for diagnosis in holoendemic areas.

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The authors are very grateful to the people of Bourasso for their participation in this study and their continuous hospitality during the field phase of our survey. Special thanks go to Justin Tiendrebéogo, Adama Compaoré, Dr. Corneille Traoré, Dr. Xavier Pitroipa, Wendyam A. Guigemdé, Ido Kolé, Issaka Zombra, Philomon Traoré, Quattara Bassiriki, Christophe Kadewa, Samuel Seni and Michael Scheiwein for their valuable contributions. This study was supported by the Sonderforschungsbereich SFB 544 ‘Kontrolle tropischer Infektionskrankheiten’.

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Correspondence to M. Lanzer.

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N. Oster and I.Z. Abdel-Aziz have contributed equally to this work.

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Oster, N., Abdel-Aziz, I.Z., Stich, A. et al. Comparison of different PCR protocols for the detection and diagnosis of Plasmodium falciparum. Parasitol Res 97, 424–428 (2005).

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  • Malaria
  • Negative Predictive Value
  • Falciparum Infection
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction Protocol
  • False Positive Test