Simple sample processing enhances malaria rapid diagnostic test performance†
Lateral flow immunochromatographic rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) are the primary form of medical diagnostic used for malaria in underdeveloped nations. Unfortunately, many of these tests do not detect asymptomatic malaria carriers. In order for eradication of the disease to be achieved, this problem must be solved. In this study, we demonstrate enhancement in the performance of six RDT brands when a simple sample-processing step is added to the front of the diagnostic process. Greater than a 4-fold RDT signal enhancement was observed as a result of the sample processing step. This lowered the limit of detection for RDT brands to submicroscopic parasitemias. For the best performing RDTs the limits of detection were found to be as low as 3 parasites per μL. Finally, through individual donor samples, the correlations between donor source, WHO panel detection scores and RDT signal intensities were explored.