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Table 3 Strengths and limitations compared to the gold standard (microscopic examination of thick and thin blood films) of additional methods to diagnose malaria

From: Malaria diagnosis in a malaria non-endemic high-resource country: high variation of diagnostic strategy in clinical laboratories in the Netherlands

  Microscopic examination of thick and thin blood films ICT LAMP assay QBC examination rtPCR
Sensitivity (detection limit)* Reference method − − + + +  +  +  + + +
Plasmodium species determination Reference method − − − − − + + +
P. falciparum determination Reference method ± − − − + + +
Parasitaemia determination Reference method − − − − − − −
Speed of examination Reference method + + + ± + + + − −
Simplicity of examination Reference method + + + + + − − +
Low cost Reference method + + +
Possible function in diagnostic strategy All-round method that can be used as stand-alone method if experienced technicians are available Fast and simple screening assay that can be organized close to the patient Reliable exclusion of malaria by less experienced technicians Fast screening for malaria parasites if experienced technicians are available Slow confirmation assay in case other methods are non-conclusive
  1. ICT: immunochromatographic test; LAMP: loop mediated isothermal amplification; QBC: Quantitative Buffy Coat; rtPCR: real-time polymerase chain reaction
  2. *Based on an experienced laboratory technician; +, ± , −: better, equal or worse compared to the reference method microscopic examination of thick and thin blood films, respectively