An international research team, led by scientists at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) in Montreal, has demonstrated that rapid and point-of-care tests (POC) for syphilis are as accurate as conventional laboratory tests. The findings, which were published in PLoS ONE, call for a major change in approach to syphilis testing and recommend replacing first line laboratory tests with POC tests globally, especially in resource-limited settings.
"There is a need to embrace rapid and POC tests for syphilis in global settings," argues Dr. Nitika Pant Pai, the study's senior and corresponding author, clinical researcher at the RI-MUHC and assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at McGill University. "This meta-analysis generates global evidence across all populations for POC tests for syphilis and is the first to use sophisticated analyses to explore the accuracy of POC tests compared to the best reference standards."
Currently, syphilis is screened using conventional laboratory-based tests that can take up to three weeks to deliver results. These tests require chemical agents, trained staff and a continuous supply of electricity, which are not readily available in some parts of the world. Rapid and POC tests can be performed on a simple finger stick sample one patient at a time, and the results communicated to the patient within 20 minutes, saving time and helping doctors order confirmatory tests and rapidly flagging patients who need treatment.
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease caused by the rod-like bacterium Treponema pallidum. It is transmitted between sexual partners through direct contact with a Syphilis sore. It may also be transmitted from mother to foetus during pregnancy or at birth, resulting in congenital syphilis. "As well timely screening and treatment in first trimester is extremely important for pregnant women to prevent still births, pre-term births and mother-to-child transmission of syphilis," adds Yalda Jafari, the study's first author and a former master's student of Dr. Pant Pai.
As many as 50 million people worldwide are being treated for syphilis and about 12 million new cases are diagnosed every year. However, approximately 90% of those infected do not know it, and this is the driving force behind the worldwide epidemic. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) often refers to syphilis as the "great imitator," because many of its symptoms are similar to other diseases.
"Our study has major worldwide implications for populations living in rural areas with limited access to healthcare," says Dr. Pant Pai. "These tests offer the potential to expedite first line screening in settings where people have no access to a primary care physician or where laboratories take more than a week to deliver results."
About this study
The study entitled "Are Treponema pallidum Specific Rapid and Point-of-Care Tests for Syphilis Accurate Enough for Screening in Resource Limited Settings? Evidence from a Meta-Analysis", was coauthored by Yalda Jafari (Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health, McGill University, Canada); Rosanna W. Peeling (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK); Sushmita Shivkumar (Clinical Epidemiology and McGill University , Canada); Christiane Claessens (Institut national de santé publique, Canada); Lawrence Joseph (Division of Clinical Epidemiology, Department of Medicine, McGill University/RI-MUHC and Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health, McGill University, Canada); and Nitika Pant Pai (Division of Clinical Epidemiology, Department of Medicine, McGill University and RI-MUHC, Canada).
This work was funded by a grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).
Click on the link below to access the PDF: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0054695
Useful linksPLoS ONE: plosone.org
Julie Robert | EurekAlert!
Chronic stress induces fatal organ dysfunctions via a new neural circuit
21.08.2017 | Hokkaido University
New malaria analysis method reveals disease severity in minutes
14.08.2017 | University of British Columbia
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
21.08.2017 | Materials Sciences
21.08.2017 | Health and Medicine
21.08.2017 | Materials Sciences