by Bijan Pedram, Valérie Pasquetto, Papa M. Drame et al.
PLoS Negl Trop Dis 11(7): e0005741 – Published: July 27, 2017
Loiasis affects over 10 million people in sub-Saharan Africa, and there are no commercial assays to detect Loa loa infection. New diagnostics for L. loa are urgently needed for two different purposes. First, although L. loa is generally a relatively asymptomatic infection, it has been associated with serious renal, cardiac, and neurological complications. Second, L. loa infection represents a major obstacle to the mass drug administration (MDA)-based elimination of river blindness and, to a lesser extent, of lymphatic filariasis. The programs to control and eliminate these parasites rely on mass administrations of ivermectin, a drug that has been associated with neurologic adverse events and sometimes death in patients with high levels of L. loa microfilariae. Herein, the authors present a novel lateral flow assay for L. loa infection. It is hoped that this test will help refine the current maps of loiasis, which will in turn allow optimization of programmatic decisions in the fight against O. volvulus and W. bancrofti, and ultimately against L. loa itself.