Laboratory and field evaluation of a new rapid test for detecting Wuchereria bancrofti antigen in human blood

Weil GJ, Curtis KC, Fakoli L, Fischer K, Gankpala L, Lammie PJ, Majewski AC, Pelletreau S, Won KY, Bolay FK, Fischer PU

Global Program to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis (GPELF) guidelines call for using filarial antigen testing to identify endemic areas that require mass drug administration (MDA) and for post-MDA surveillance. We compared a new filarial antigen test (the Alere Filariasis Test Strip) with the reference BinaxNOW Filariasis card test that has been used by the GPELF for more than 10 years. Laboratory testing of 227 archived serum or plasma samples showed that the two tests had similar high rates of sensitivity and specificity and > 99% agreement. However, the test strip detected 26.5% more people with filarial antigenemia (124/503 versus 98/503) and had better test result stability than the card test in a field study conducted in a filariasis-endemic area in Liberia. Based on its increased sensitivity and other practical advantages, we believe that the test strip represents a major step forward that will be welcomed by the GPELF and the filariasis research community.