Evaluation of a point-of-care haemozoin assay (Gazelle device) for rapid detection of Plasmodium knowlesi malaria

Angelica F. Tan, Priyaleela Thota, Sitti Saimah Binti Sakam, Yao Long Lew, Giri S. Rajahram, Timothy William, Bridget E. Barber, Steven Kho, Nicholas M. Anstey, David Bell, Matthew J. Grigg

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Abstract

Plasmodium knowlesi is the major cause of zoonotic malaria in Southeast Asia. Rapid and accurate diagnosis enables effective clinical management. A novel malaria diagnostic tool, Gazelle (Hemex Health, USA) detects haemozoin, a by-product of haem metabolism found in all Plasmodium infections. A pilot phase refined the Gazelle haemozoin identification algorithm, with the algorithm then tested against reference PCR in a larger cohort of patients with P. knowlesi mono-infections and febrile malaria-negative controls. Limit-of-detection analysis was conducted on a subset of P. knowlesi samples serially diluted with non-infected whole blood. The pilot phase of 40 P. knowlesi samples demonstrated 92.5% test sensitivity. P. knowlesi-infected patients (n = 203) and febrile controls (n = 44) were subsequently enrolled. Sensitivity and specificity of the Gazelle against reference PCR were 94.6% (95% CI 90.5–97.3%) and 100% (95% CI 92.0–100%) respectively. Positive and negative predictive values were 100% and 98.8%, respectively. In those tested before antimalarial treatment (n = 143), test sensitivity was 96.5% (95% CI 92.0–98.9%). Sensitivity for samples with ≤ 200 parasites/µL (n = 26) was 84.6% (95% CI 65.1–95.6%), with the lowest parasitaemia detected at 18/µL. Limit-of-detection (n = 20) was 33 parasites/µL (95% CI 16–65%). The Gazelle device has the potential for rapid, sensitive detection of P. knowlesi infections in endemic areas.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4760
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalScientific Reports
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

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