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Archived Comments for: Testing the sensitivity and specificity of the fluorescence microscope (Cyscope®) for malaria diagnosis

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  1. The CyScope DNA stain is *not* plasmodium-specific!

    Howard Shapiro, The Center for Microbial Cytometry and Howard M. Shapiro, M.D., P.C.

    19 April 2010

    Although the authors assert that the stain used with the CyScope is specific for parasite DNA and also that Ref. 9 (Guy R et al, The use of fluorescence enhancement to improve the microscopic diagnosis of falciparum malaria. Malar J 2007, 6: 89) describes the use of "plasmodium nucleic acid-specific fluorescent dyes," this is incorrect. The fact is that there are *no* fluorescent dyes specific for the DNA of malaria or any other parasite. This is actually made clear in Ref. 9 itself, which clearly states "However, staining nucleic acids with fluorescent dyes alone is non-specific for Plasmodium and cannot be used to differentiate species of malaria." The CyScope stain is highly DNA-selective, and thus often described as "DNA-specific," but it stains human cell nuclei, erythrocyte micronuclei (if they are present), and any other DNA-containing structures present on slides as well as the DNA of plasmodia.

    Competing interests