MiniPCR as a portable equipment for the molecular diagnosis of american cutaneous leishmaniasis

Alejandro Castellanos-Gonzalez, Alexandra Cossio, Jimena Jojoa, Scott Moen, Bruno L. Travi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is an urgent need to improve the diagnostic capacity of cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) in rural health centers to improve the management of the disease in patients from remote regions where the infection is endemic. Microscopy of Giemsa-stained lesion smears is the standard-of-care diagnostic test in virtually all health centers, but its sensitivity is suboptimal (50–70%) and prone to false negative results. We evaluated the performance of a low-cost DNA extraction buffer (LAB) using a portable miniPCR™ equipment coupled with an inexpensive fluorescence viewer to detect Leishmania DNA with the naked eye or using a commercial photo app. Using ten-fold serial dilutions of Leishmania (V.) panamensis promastigotes the miniPCR-F test detected 10 parasites per µL, which was comparable to real-time PCR. Utilization of DNA from retrospective clinical samples preserved at -80 °C from Colombia (n = 28) or lesion exudate preserved in filter papers from Peru (n = 48) showed that the miniPCR-fluorescent test had a 100% sensitivity and > 90% specificity compared to real-time PCR. This study demonstrated the utility of LAB DNA extraction method for direct amplification of Leishmania using the miniPCR and reading of P51 results with the naked eye or via digital reading with a photo app. These preliminary results indicated that the miniPCR-F test workflow could be amenable to implementation in resource-limited health centers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106926
JournalActa Tropica
StatePublished - Jul 2023


  • American cutaneous leishmaniasis
  • MiniPCR equipment
  • Molecular diagnosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Parasitology


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