Diagnostic tools appropriate for undertaking interventions to control helminth infections are key to their success. Many diagnostic tests for helminth infection have unsatisfactory performance characteristics and are not well suited for use in the parasite control programmes that are being increasingly implemented. Although the application of modern laboratory research techniques to improve diagnostics for helminth infection has resulted in some technical advances, uptake has not been uniform. Frequently, pilot or proof of concept studies of promising diagnostic technologies have not been followed by much needed product development, and in many settings diagnosis continues to rely on insensitive and unsatisfactory parasitological or serodiagnostic techniques. In contrast, PCR-based xenomonitoring of arthropod vectors, and use of parasite recombinant proteins as reagents for serodiagnostic tests, have resulted in critical advances in the control of specific helminth parasites. The Disease Reference Group on Helminths Infections (DRG4), established in 2009 by the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) was given the mandate to review helminthiases research and identify research priorities and gaps. In this review, the diagnostic technologies relevant to control of helminth infections, either available or in development, are reviewed. Critical gaps are identified and opportunities to improve needed technologies are discussed.
McCarthy, J.S.; Lustigman, S.; Yang, G.J.; Barakat, R.M.; García, H.H.; Sripa, B.; Willingham, A.L.; Prichard, R.K.; Basáñez, M.G. A Research Agenda for Helminth Diseases of Humans: Diagnostics for Control and Elimination Programmes. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases (2012) 6 (4) e1601. e1601. [DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0001601]