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Plasmodium, an intracellular apicomplexan parasite, gives rise to one of the potentially fatal diseases, malaria. Till date, there are 5 Plasmodium species that infect human and they are P. falciparum, P. vivax, P. ovale, P. malariae and P. knowlesi. Amongst the 5 species, P. falciparum is responsible for most malaria-related deaths. These parasites are transmitted by infected mosquitoes, such as those from the genus Anopheles to humans, when they feed on human blood (Korgaonkar et al., 2012). The complex life cycle of these parasites makes it harder for the body’s immune system to detect them and hence, they often lead to fatal consequences if left untreated. Thus, there is a need to detect these parasites quickly and accurately to allow for timely treatment. In this practical, we will explore 3 approaches to characterizing P. falciparum parasites through Giemsa staining of thin blood films, PCR genotyping and rapid drug sensitivity testing using novel fluorescent compound, as well as, taking note of the pros and cons of each approach.

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