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!
Correct connections are crucial
26.06.2017 | Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin
One gene closer to regenerative therapy for muscular disorders
01.06.2017 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
27.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
27.06.2017 | Life Sciences
27.06.2017 | Earth Sciences