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Tools for diagnosis, monitoring and screening of Schistosoma infections utilizing lateral-flow based assays and upconverting phosphor labels


The potential of various quantitative lateral flow (LF) based assays utilizing up-converting phosphor (UCP) reporters for the diagnosis of schistosomiasis is reviewed including recent developments. Active infections are demonstrated by screening for the presence of regurgitated worm antigens (genus specific polysaccharides), whereas anti-Schistosoma antibodies may indicate ongoing as well as past infections. The circulating anodic antigen (CAA) in serum or urine (and potentially also saliva) is identified as the marker that may allow detection of single-worm infections. Quantitation of antigen levels is a reliable method to study effects of drug administration, worm burden and anti-fecundity mechanisms. Moreover, the ratio of CAA and circulating cathodic antigen (CCA) is postulated to facilitate identification of either Schistosoma mansoni or Schistosoma haematobium infections. The UCP-LF assays allow simultaneous detection of multiple targets on a single strip, a valuable feature for antibody detection assays. Although antibody detection in endemic regions is not a useful tool to diagnose active infections, it gains potential when the ratio of different classes of antibody specific for the parasite/disease can be determined. The UCP-LF antibody assay format allows this type of multiplexing, including testing a linear array of up to 20 different targets. Multiple test spots would allow detection of specific antibodies, e.g. against different Schistosoma species or other pathogens as soil-transmitted helminths. Concluding, the different UCP-LF based assays for diagnosis of schistosomiasis provide a collection of tests with relatively low complexity and high sensitivity, covering the full range of diagnostics needed in control programmes for mapping, screening and monitoring.

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*Corresponding author: Department of Molecular Cell Biology, Leiden University Medical Center, Einthovenweg 20, P.O. Box 9600, 2300 RC, Leiden, the Netherlands. E-mail:
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