Human African trypanosomiasis is a life-threatening parasitic infection endemic to sub-Saharan Africa. Around 95% of cases are due to Trypanosoma brucei gambiense, found in western and central Africa. Clinical signs and symptoms are nonspecific, current diagnostic tests are not sufficiently accurate, and parasitological confirmation of infection requires microscopic examination of body fluids and specialized techniques for concentrating parasites. Moreover, current treatment is not recommended on the basis of suspicion alone because it is not sufficiently safe. The availability of a simple and accurate diagnostic test to identify individuals harbouring parasites would widen treatment and help decrease disease prevalence. A subcommittee of the World Health Organization's Neglected Tropical Diseases Diagnostics Technical Advisory Group has developed a target product profile for a diagnostic tool to identify T. b. gambiense infection. This tool should have a high sensitivity for detecting T. b. gambiense but be simple enough to use in rural Africa. Ideally, the tool could be applied by any minimally trained individual in an unsophisticated peripheral health facility, or a mobile team in a village with little infrastructure. The test should be able to function under hot and humid conditions. Basic training should take under 2 hours and the test should involve fewer than five steps. There should be no need for instrumentation or precision liquid handling. The test should yield a qualitative result in under 20 minutes that can be easily observed, and one test should be sufficient for determining treatment. A unit cost below 1 United States dollar (US$) would enable mass screening.
- Trypanosoma brucei gambiense
- Trypanosomiasis, African/diagnosis
- Body Fluids
- Diagnostic Tests, Routine