DNA technological progress toward advanced diagnostic tools to support human hookworm control
Blood-feeding hookworms are parasitic nematodes of major human health importance. Currently, it is estimated that 740 million people are infected worldwide, and more than 80 million of them are severely affected clinically by hookworm disease. In spite of the health problems caused and the advances toward the development of vaccines against some hookworms, limited attention has been paid to the need for improved, practical methods of diagnosis. Accurate diagnosis and genetic characterization of hookworms is central to their effective control. While traditional diagnostic methods have considerable limitations, there has been some progress toward the development of molecular-diagnostic tools. The present article provides a brief background on hookworm disease of humans, reviews the main methods that have been used for diagnosis and describes progress in establishing polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based methods for the specific diagnosis of hookworm infection and the genetic characterisation of the causative agents. This progress provides a foundation for the rapid development of practical, highly sensitive and specific diagnostic and analytical tools to be used in improved hookworm prevention and control programmes.
Journal: Biotechnology Advances - Volume 26, Issue 1, January–February 2008, Pages 35–45