Journal special issue focuses on Advances in Diagnostics for Parasitic Diseases

News article 2 Dec 2014

This December sees publication of a Special Issue of Parasitology volume 141(14)devoted to “Advances in diagnostics for parasitic diseases” which features 19 papers as contributed to by over 75 collaborative authors. The manuscripts were originally presented and developed at the British Society for Parasitology (BSP) Autumn Symposium held at Ness Gardens in September 2013, as organised by LSTM’s Dr Emily Adams and Professor Russ Stothard. The meeting also saw the launch the LSTM’s Research Centre for Drugs and Diagnostics, drawing attention to the strategic role the School has within the international diagnostics sector.

In this special issue, state-of-the art diagnostics across a broad range of infectious and parasitic diseases were discussed, ranging from the very common, malaria, to the more obscure, human fascioliasis. Striking a careful balance between retaining traditional diagnostic skills with proficient microscopy versus deployment of more advanced laboratory techniques was highlighted and how this could be best dovetailed within the primary health care setting. Utilisation of any diagnostic test albeit a low-cost lateral flow antigen or expensive DNA-based assay, should satisfy a variety of issues if to be used appropriately and be sustainable in the longer term.

Professor Russ Stothard, a medical parasitologist at LSTM and the issue’s co-ordinating editor, commented: “Bringing together these papers which feature an impressive range of diagnostic expertise allowed me to see several commonalities across diverse diseases and care settings. Foremost, no single diagnostic test can satisfy precisely all diagnostic needs such as that within control versus that within elimination. This calls for an appropriate portfolio of applied research ultimately aimed at strengthening not weakening the primary health system in the delivery of tailored medical care”.

With the forthcoming Spring Meeting of the BSP to be held in Liverpool 16-18th April 2015, there will be another important opportunity to promote the importance of parasitological research within LSTM featuring malaria, NTDs and vectors.