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Indirect Haemagglutination Test for Malarial Antibody

Naturevolume 212page83 (1966) | Download Citation



Stein and Desowitz1–3 have used an indirect haemagglutination test for malarial antibody using tanned formolized sheep erythrocytes sensitized with an antigen prepared from erythrocytic malarial parasites released from the erythrocytes. The method of release was osmotic breakage in distilled water followed by grinding of the sediment. In our experience such a sediment is heavily contaminated with leucocyte and lymphocyte nuclear DNA and probably some other blood debris. Stein and Desowitz2,3 have published results which admit to false positive results with normal serum from zero to 1:1,600 dilution. Desowitz and Saave4 used the technique to determine antibody levels in a population in New Guinea exposed to hyperendemic malaria (enlarged spleen rates: 100 per cent in children, 35 per cent in adults). They reported results using P. coatneyi antigen which included a negative reaction in 22 per cent of the 7–15 year old age group, a reaction at a dilution of 1:1,600 in 28.5 per cent of the 1–2 year old age group, and an accretion of antibody of less than three-fold from infants to adults. These figures suggest to us that there was a significant amount of test failure and equally a significant amount of false positivity. Bray5 reported difficulty in obtaining consistent results using tanned formolized cells and a purer antigen. We have since experienced failures with the technique reported satisfactorily by him. Two faults appear paramount; failure to bind antigen on to formolized cells and auto-agglutination of formolized cells. On the other hand, agglutinins are certainly present in malaria serum6.

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  1. Department of Parasitology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London, W.C.1.

    • R. S. BRAY
    •  & H. M. S. EL-NAHAL


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