A novel duplex ddPCR assay for the diagnosis of schistosomiasis japonica: proof of concept in an experimental mouse model

Kosala G. Weerakoon, Catherine A Gordon, Pengfei Cai, Geoffrey N Gobert, Mary Duke, Gail M Williams, Donald P McManus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The current World Health Organization strategic plan targets the elimination of schistosomiasis as a public health problem by 2025 and accurate diagnostics will play a pivotal role in achieving this goal. DNA-based detection methods provide a viable alternative to some of the commonly used tests, notably microscopy and serology, for the diagnosis of schistosomiasis. The detection of parasite cell-free DNA in different clinical samples is a recent valuable advance, which provides significant benefits for accurate disease diagnosis. Here we validated a novel duplex droplet digital PCR assay for the diagnosis of Chinese (SjC) and Philippine (SjP) strains of Schistosoma japonicum infection in a mouse model. The assay proved applicable for both SjC and SjP infections and capable of detecting infection at a very early intra-mammalian stage in conveniently obtainable samples (urine and saliva) as well as in serum and feces. The target DNA copy numbers obtained in the assay showed a positive correlation with the infection burden assessed by direct traditional parasitology. The potential to detect parasite DNA in urine and saliva has important practical implications for large-scale epidemiological screening programmes in the future, particularly in terms of logistical convenience, and the assay has the potential to be a valuable additional tool for the diagnosis of schistosomiasis japonica.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1005-1015
JournalParasitology
Volume144
Issue number8
Early online date09 Mar 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017

Keywords

  • Journal Article

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