Project Title

Exploring Multiplex PCR Assay for Identification of Enteric Parasites in High-Volume Reference Laboratories

Graduation Date


Document Type

Culminating Project

Degree Name

Master of Science


Clinical Laboratory Sciences

Program Director

Mary B. Sevigny, PhD

Faculty Advisor

Howard Koo, MS, CLS

Project Supervisor

LaRonda S. Frazier, MS


The conventional methods used for the identification of enteric parasites are microscopy (O&P) and ELSA. The O&P method itself is subjective, laborious, time consuming, lacks sensitivity, and specificity. The ELISA assays are also labor intensive and require multiple sample preparations. High-volume reference laboratories process hundreds of specimens for O&P and ELISA daily. Currently, several companies have developed multiplex molecular PCR based assays to detect the most common enteric parasites (Giardia, Cryptosporidium & Entamoeba histolytica) in one sample within few hours. The aim of this review is to explore different FDA approved multiplexes, compare them with the conventional method, and suggest the best fitted multiplex molecular test to be utilized in high-volume reference laboratories. In comparison to the conventional method, multiplex PCR assays are expensive; however, high-volume reference laboratories might justify the cost by consolidating different test orders and utilizing one specific panel based on the patients’ population.

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