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Malaria rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) support in diagnosis of malaria by detecting evidence of malaria parasites (antigens) in blood. RDT tests detect malaria antigens in a person’s blood and indicate a positive result. The test indicates the result by a color change on the testing strip.
Currently, different rapid diagnostic tests are available with varying capabilities in what they detect. For instance, some rapid tests may detect all four common species such as P. falciparum, P. vivax, P. ovale and P. malariae. However, it does not distinguish between them whereas the combination tests, can detect all four common species and will identify P. falciparum specifically, if it is present.
Detection of malaria antigen in the blood fully depend on the sensitivity and the number of parasites in the blood. Detecting antigen on the first day of the fever is possible, if the number of parasites in the blood is high enough.