Advances in Malaria Testing: Screening and Identification of Carriers from Saliva

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  • Biology Department, Bob Jones University, Greenville, SC - 29614 ,US
  • Biology Department, Bob Jones University, Greenville, SC - 29614 ,US
  • Biology Department, Bob Jones University, Greenville, SC - 29614 ,US
  • Bosem Technologies, LLC, Greenville, SC - 29615 ,US



Malaria, Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium, Real-Time PCR


Plasmodium is a parasite that can infect red blood cells and cause flu-like symptoms with malaria infection. Traditional diagnostic methods do not include counting or testing for gametocytes, which can reservoir in the liver for long periods of time and recirculate. These carriers may have no symptoms, but they can transmit infection to others or to mosquitos. Currently, no diagnostic tests have been approved to detect Plasmodium gametocytes in either symptomatic or asymptomatic whole blood samples. Therefore, we developed real-time PCR assays to detect active and carrier states of malaria. The first is a traditional screening test that can detect any of the five Plasmodium species that cause malaria infection. The second is a companion test to differentiate and quantitate Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax gametocytes in samples of whole blood from patients who may be asymptomatic and present negative results from screening tests. The screening test showed amplification of P. falciparum, P. vivax, P. ovale, P. malariae, and P. knowlesi in saliva with an overall detection limit of 565 copies/μL. The gametocyte test showed no cross-reactivity between P. falciparum and P. vivax with a limit of detection of RNA at 1000 copies/μL.


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Author Biographies

Sean Campos, Biology Department, Bob Jones University, Greenville, SC - 29614

Campos was a senior Biology Major. He worked on both the screening and gametocyte portions of the research as part of his senior capstone project. He also wrote the introduction and other portions of the article.

Mikayla Ybarra, Biology Department, Bob Jones University, Greenville, SC - 29614

Mikayla is a senior Biology major. She performed some of the research related to screening and did early development work to screen for primers. Mikayla serves as one of Bob Jones University laboratory assistants so she plays a vital role in prepping reagents, monitoring the environment, and organizing supplies. 

Jonathan Madeti, Biology Department, Bob Jones University, Greenville, SC - 29614

Jonathan was a senior PreMed major and conducted an independent study testing the Plasmodium screening assay. He contributed the reproducibility data and authored some of the introduction and other sections. 




How to Cite

Campos, S., Ybarra, M., Madeti, J., & Garcia, R. A. (2023). Advances in Malaria Testing: Screening and Identification of Carriers from Saliva. Journal of Endocrinology and Reproduction, 27(3), 187–197.



Research Article Presented at SRBCE 2023



World Health Organization. World Malaria Report 2022. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2022. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO

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