This is a terrible affliction for which we
need really to devise preventatives.
How do you diagnose such infections? You can
look at blood, you can take a very small amount
of blood and simply look at it under the microscope,
you can find the trypomastigotes, they are
quite beautiful, as I said. They stain very
nicely and they’re clear to identify. You
can also find such trypanosomes in cerebrospinal
fluid, by that time of course the infection
has been going on for quite a while and will
be very difficult to eliminate. There is a
relatively recently developed field PCR test
which can be done with minimal equipment, and
this PCR test, polymerase chain reaction,
is different from the usual PCR test, where
you have to amplify the DNA of the parasite
and then fractionate the DNA on a gel, to
see if the reaction is positive or negative.
Here, the PCR test has been developed, such
that if the color goes from green to brown,
it means that the trypanosome DNA is present.
So this is a very nice development that makes
it far easier and quicker to carry out PCR
in regions with not a lot of equipment.