New test "can identify river blindness"

New test "can identify river blindness"

A team of experts in the US have developed a new test which they believe can accurately help to diagnose river blindness, or onchocerciasis, a condition which affects 37 million people worldwide.

The condition is caused by a parasite which grows in the eye and can be debilitating, but specialists at the Scripps Research Institute say that a "sensitive and reproducible diagnostic test" for the condition could lead to earlier treatment.

Dr Kim Janda, a professor in the departments of chemistry and immunology and microbial science at Scripps, said the test could change the current strategy of mass treatment in areas where river blindness is suspected.

The test involves the application of biomarkers which can distinguish between people with worms of compromised viability from those with active infection.

"This diagnostic tool could be a game-changer for how the disease will be treated in the future," Dr Janda explained.

Recently, a team of experts in Iowa claimed that photoscreening may be the most effective way of identifying children suffering from amblyopia, also known as lazy eye.

by Emily Tait

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