It is clearly desirable to develop rapid and precise diagnostic PCR procedures for use in clinical laboratories. The authors of a recent review on the use of PCR for the diagnosis of malaria assert that PCR “should be considered as the gold standard for the diagnosis of imported malaria”. Since the first description of the diagnosis of Plasmodium infection by PCR, the role of PCR in the laboratory diagnosis of imported malaria is still a topical question.
However, the authors claim that PCR-based assays are more sensitive and more specific than all conventional methods. The highest contribution of the molecular diagnosis is that a negative PCR result would indicate the lack of any malaria infection, thus quickly orienting the investigations toward other aetiology.