SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2016

New test shown to be reliable in detecting Chagas disease

A new study from Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) recently showed a new test to be a reliable detector for Chagas disease.

The test could help put patients in treatment sooner, as it will allow professionals to diagnose patients without utilizing laboratory facilities.

"It is revolutionary," Laurence Flevaud, the coordinator of the study and MSF's laboratory advisor, said. "We can no longer say we don't have rapid tests to diagnose Chagas, and therefore there is no longer an excuse for not treating affected people. According to the results, the tests work well worldwide, from Japan to America, passing through Europe. We have shattered the myths about the diagnosis of Chagas."

The study tested 474 samples of serum in 11 national referral laboratories since 2010. There are 11 rapid diagnostic tests available, six of which have proven to be reliable.

The WHO recommends diagnosis using two conventional lab tests and a third in cases of discrepancy. Patients will have to wait two weeks for a result.

Chagas disease kills 12,000 people each year. It is a main public health hazard in Latin America and more than seven million people are estimated to be infected with the disease.