Nav: Home

Whole blood test for toxoplasmosis is sensitive, specific

August 16, 2018

Transmission of toxoplasmosis from mother to fetus can lead to severe congenital problems and fetal death, and tests for the parasitic infection during pregnancy are critical. Now, researchers reporting in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases have showed the efficacy of a low-cost whole blood test for toxoplasmosis.

Toxoplasmosis results from infection with the Toxoplasma gondii parasite, usually transmitted to humans from eating undercooked contaminated meat or through exposure to infected cat feces. Existing tests for the infection are serum tests, which require blood samples to be processed using infrastructure and technology which can be prohibitive in developing areas and unaffordable in developed countries like the United States.

Rima McLeod of the University of Chicago and her colleagues, including Joseph Lykins and Karen Leahy, tested 205 individuals. The individuals tested included patients, volunteers, and obstetrical patients from Chicago and Morocco known to be infected with T. gondii. A team led by coauthor Dr. El Bissati tested the pregnant patients in Morocco, and Dr. McLeod's team tested the patients in Chicago. The blood was tested for T. gondii infection status using reference tests, standard-of-care serum tests and the new whole-blood point-of-care (POC) test obtained by finger stick.

The whole blood POC test had 100% agreement with the reference and serum-variant testing, and proved highly sensitive and specific, with a sensitivity of 100% and a specificity of 100%. The scores held true even for women with lower levels of anti-Toxoplasma antibodies. However, the test cannot distinguish between acute and chronic infections.

The authors note, "Our work establishes a new point of care test in the outpatient setting at very low cost enabling diagnosis and prompt treatment for toxoplasma infections acquired for the first time during pregnancy. This enables life, sight and cognition saving treatments. If combined with multiplexed testing for other congenital infections and markers associated with premature birth, it will markedly improve maternal child outcomes and save lives."
In your coverage please use this URL to provide access to the freely available paper:

Citation: Lykins J, Li X, Levigne P, Zhou Y, El Bissati K, et al. (2018) Rapid, inexpensive, fingerstick, whole-blood, sensitive, specific, point-of-care test for anti-Toxoplasmaantibodies. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases 12(8): e0006536.

Image Credit: McLeod, et al. (CC BY 4.0, 2018)

Image Caption: "Performing the Toxoplasma ICT IgG-IgM Test"

Funding: We gratefully acknowledge support of this work by the Thrasher Foundation (Award #- 13796) [Rima McLeod, Yvonne Maldonado, Jose G. Montoya, Despina G. Contopoulos-Ioannidis], NIH NIAID DMID R01 AI027530 [McLeod] and The Mann Cornwell, Van Dusen, Morel, Goldberg, Rooney, Taub, Drago, Orlinsky families. The work in Morocco was also funded, in part, by the Fulbright US Scholar Program [Kamal El Bissati]. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing Interests: The authors of this manuscript have the following competing interests: Dr. Rima McLeod worked on a literature review for Sanofi Pasteur.


Related Pregnancy Articles:

Are women using e-cigarettes during preconception and/or pregnancy?
A new study of 1,365 racially/ethnically diverse, low-income pregnant women found that 4% reported e-cigarette use.
A better pregnancy test for whales
To determine whale pregnancy, researchers have relied on visual cues or hormone tests of blubber collected via darts, but the results were often inconclusive.
Cannabis use during pregnancy
The large health care system Kaiser Permanente Northern California provides universal screening for prenatal cannabis use in women during pregnancy by self-report and urine toxicology testing.
Questions and answers about cannabis use during pregnancy
A new study shows that women have many medical questions about the use of cannabis both before and during pregnancy, and during the postpartum period while breastfeeding.
The effect of taking antidepressants during pregnancy
Exposure to antidepressants during pregnancy and the first weeks of life can alter sensory processing well into adulthood, according to research in mice recently published in eNeuro.
Is ivermectin safe during pregnancy?
Is it safe to give ivermectin to pregnant women? To answer this question, researchers from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), an institution supported by 'la Caixa,' conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies that reported cases of accidental exposure to the drug among pregnant women.
Going to sleep on your back in late pregnancy
This study looked at whether going to sleep on your back in the third trimester of pregnancy was associated with average lower birth weights.
Opioid use disorder in pregnancy: 5 things to know
Opioid use is increasing in pregnancy as well as the general population.
Medical imaging rates during pregnancy
Researchers looked at rates of medical imaging (CT, MRI, conventional x-rays, angiography, fluoroscopy and nuclear medicine) during pregnancy in this observational study that included nearly 3.5 million pregnant women in the United States and Canada from 1996 to 2016.
New research on diet and supplements during pregnancy and beyond
The foods and nutrients a woman consumes while pregnant have important health implications for her and her baby.
More Pregnancy News and Pregnancy Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Our Relationship With Water
We need water to live. But with rising seas and so many lacking clean water – water is in crisis and so are we. This hour, TED speakers explore ideas around restoring our relationship with water. Guests on the show include legal scholar Kelsey Leonard, artist LaToya Ruby Frazier, and community organizer Colette Pichon Battle.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#569 Facing Fear
What do you fear? I mean really fear? Well, ok, maybe right now that's tough. We're living in a new age and definition of fear. But what do we do about it? Eva Holland has faced her fears, including trauma and phobia. She lived to tell the tale and write a book: "Nerve: Adventures in the Science of Fear".
Now Playing: Radiolab

First things first: our very own Latif Nasser has an exciting new show on Netflix. He talks to Jad about the hidden forces of the world that connect us all. Then, with an eye on the upcoming election, we take a look back: at two pieces from More Perfect Season 3 about Constitutional amendments that determine who gets to vote. Former Radiolab producer Julia Longoria takes us to Washington, D.C. The capital is at the heart of our democracy, but it's not a state, and it wasn't until the 23rd Amendment that its people got the right to vote for president. But that still left DC without full representation in Congress; D.C. sends a "non-voting delegate" to the House. Julia profiles that delegate, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, and her unique approach to fighting for power in a virtually powerless role. Second, Radiolab producer Sarah Qari looks at a current fight to lower the US voting age to 16 that harkens back to the fight for the 26th Amendment in the 1960s. Eighteen-year-olds at the time argued that if they were old enough to be drafted to fight in the War, they were old enough to have a voice in our democracy. But what about today, when even younger Americans are finding themselves at the center of national political debates? Does it mean we should lower the voting age even further? This episode was reported and produced by Julia Longoria and Sarah Qari. Check out Latif Nasser's new Netflix show Connected here. Support Radiolab today at