Chagas Disease Diagnostic Applications: Present Knowledge and Future Steps.
Balouz, V., Agüero, F. and Buscaglia, C.A.
Instituto de Investigaciones Biotecnologicas e Instituto Tecnologico de Chascomus (IIB-INTECH), Universidad Nacional de San Martín (UNSAM) Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), Buenos Aires, Argentina
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Chagas disease, caused by the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi, is a lifelong and debilitating illness of major significance throughout Latin America and an emergent threat to global public health. Being a neglected disease, the vast majority of Chagasic patients have limited access to proper diagnosis and treatment, and there is only a marginal investment into R&D for drug and vaccine development. In this context, identification of novel biomarkers able to transcend the current limits of diagnostic methods surfaces as a main priority in Chagas disease applied research. The expectation is that these novel biomarkers will provide reliable, reproducible and accurate results irrespective of the genetic background, infecting parasite strain, stage of disease, and clinical-associated features of Chagasic populations. In addition, they should be able to address other still unmet diagnostic needs, including early detection of congenital T. cruzi transmission, rapid assessment of treatment efficiency or failure, indication/prediction of disease progression and direct parasite typification in clinical samples. The lack of access of poor and neglected populations to essential diagnostics also stresses the necessity of developing new methods operational in point-of-care settings. In summary, emergent diagnostic tests integrating these novel and tailored tools should provide a significant impact on the effectiveness of current intervention schemes and on the clinical management of Chagasic patients. In this chapter, we discuss the present knowledge and possible future steps in Chagas disease diagnostic applications, as well as the opportunity provided by recent advances in high-throughput methods for biomarker discovery.
Advances in Parasitology 97: 1-45 (2017)