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A multi-center field study of two point-of-care tests for circulating Wuchereria bancrofti antigenemia in Africa.

PLoS Negl Trop Dis; 11(9): e0005703, 2017 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28892473


The Global Programme to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis uses point-of-care tests for circulating filarial antigenemia (CFA) to map endemic areas and for monitoring and evaluating the success of mass drug administration (MDA) programs. We compared the performance of the reference BinaxNOW Filariasis card test (ICT, introduced in 1997) with the Alere Filariasis Test Strip (FTS, introduced in 2013) in 5 endemic study sites in Africa.


The tests were compared prior to MDA in two study sites (Congo and Côte d'Ivoire) and in three sites that had received MDA (DRC and 2 sites in Liberia). Data were analyzed with regard to % positivity, % agreement, and heterogeneity. Models evaluated potential effects of age, gender, and blood microfilaria (Mf) counts in individuals and effects of endemicity and history of MDA at the village level as potential factors linked to higher sensitivity of the FTS. Lastly, we assessed relationships between CFA scores and Mf in pre- and post-MDA settings.


Paired test results were available for 3,682 individuals. Antigenemia rates were 8% and 22% higher by FTS than by ICT in pre-MDA and in post-MDA sites, respectively. FTS/ICT ratios were higher in areas with low infection rates. The probability of having microfilaremia was much higher in persons with CFA scores >1 in untreated areas. However, this was not true in post-MDA settings.


This study has provided extensive new information on the performance of the FTS compared to ICT in Africa and it has confirmed the increased sensitivity of FTS reported in prior studies. Variability in FTS/ICT was related in part to endemicity level, history of MDA, and perhaps to the medications used for MDA. These results suggest that FTS should be superior to ICT for mapping, for transmission assessment surveys, and for post-MDA surveillance.