Geneva-based not-for-profit foundation FIND and Japanese diagnostics company Eiken have developed a next-generation molecular test for sleeping sickness.

Loop-mediated isothermal amplification, a molecular diagnostic platform, detects pathogen DNA from patient samples with high specificity and sensitivity by amplifying target DNA at a constant temperature.

The test will improve doctors’ ability to diagnose sleeping sickness, reduce the follow-up period and eliminate the need for repeated lumbar punctures.

In addition, results can be seen by the naked eye, rather than requiring the complicated detection equipment needed for more conventional methods.

The test has completed design and development phases and will be available for clinical use in 2012.