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Antigen Discovery for Serological Diagnosis of Visceral Leishmaniasis

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Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is the most severe form of leishmaniasis and results from parasitic infection by certain species of the protozoan genus Leishmania. Because VL is often fatal unless treated, rapid and accurate diagnosis of the disease is indispensable for case control. Currently, the gold standard diagnosis of VL is detection of parasites in a spleen or bone marrow aspirate. Because this method is invasive, time-consuming, and not sufficiently sensitive, rendering it inefficient, alternative methods including serological diagnosis have been developed. The 'first generation' serological tests that detect antibodies to Leishmania parasites in peripheral blood, serum or plasma, have utilized crude antigen, e.g., whole parasites or parasite lysate, that often have cross-reactivity / low specificity issues. As a result, efforts have been focused on characterizing antigens for 'second generation' diagnostic tests. The best example of such defined antigens is the recombinant K39 protein, or rK39, which contains a 39-amino acid repeat, and diagnostic tests based on this antigen are now commercially available and used world-wide. This review discusses advances in and the current status on antigen discovery for antibody detection-type diagnostic tests of visceral leishmaniasis.

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Keywords: Visceral leishmaniasis; antigen discovery; diagnosis

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-09-01

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  • Current Chemical Biology aims to publish full-length and mini reviews on exciting new developments at the chemistry-biology interface, covering topics relating to Chemical Synthesis, Science at Chemistry-Biology Interface and Chemical Mechanisms of Biological Systems.

    Current Chemical Biology covers the following areas: Chemical Synthesis (Syntheses of biologically important macromolecules including proteins, polypeptides, oligonucleotides, oligosaccharides etc.; Asymmetric synthesis; Combinatorial synthesis; Diversity-oriented synthesis; Template-directed synthesis; Biomimetic synthesis; Solid phase biomolecular synthesis; Synthesis of small biomolecules: amino acids, peptides, lipids, carbohydrates and nucleosides; and Natural product synthesis).

    Science at Chemistry-Biology Interface (Chemical informatics; Macromolecular catalysts and receptors; Enzymatic synthesis; Biosynthetic engineering; Combinatorial biosynthesis; Plant cell based chemistry; Bacterial and viral cell based chemistry; Chemistry of cellular processes in plants/animals; Receptor chemistry; Cell signaling chemistry; Drug design through understanding of disease processes; Synthetic biology; New high throughput screening techniques; Small molecular array fabrication; Chemical genomics; Chemical and biological approaches to carbohydrates proteins and nucleic acids design; Chemical and biological regulation of biosynthetic pathways; and Unnatural biomolecular analogs).
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