Molecular diagnosis of protozoan parasites by Recombinase Polymerase Amplification

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12 Scopus citations


Infections caused by protozoan parasites affect millions of people around the world. Traditionally, diagnosis was made by microscopy, which is insensitive and in some cases not specific. Molecular methods are highly sensitive and specific, but equipment costs and personnel training limit its availability only to specialized centers, usually far from populations with the highest risk of infection. Inexpensive methods that can be applied at the point of care (POC), especially in places with limited health infrastructure, would be a major advantage. Isothermal amplification of nucleic acids does not require thermocyclers and is relatively inexpensive and easy to implement. Among isothermal methods, recombinase polymerase amplification (RPA) is sensitive and potentially applicable at POC. We and others have developed RPA diagnostic tests to detect protozoan parasites of medical importance. Overall, our results have shown high specificity with limits of detection similar to PCR. Currently, the optimization of RPA for use at the POC is under development, and in the near future the tests should become available to detect protozoan infections in the field. In this review we discuss the current status, challenges, and future of RPA in the field of molecular diagnosis of protozoan parasites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4-11
Number of pages8
JournalActa Tropica
StatePublished - Jun 2018


  • Isothermal amplification
  • Molecular diagnostic
  • Protozoan
  • RPA
  • Recombinase amplification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Parasitology


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