Though many medical tests require blood samples (pictured), according to a new study, a finger-prick test of just one drop of blood is all that is needed to detect the presence of trich by identifying an antibody that is specifically associated with the STI. File Photo by Belova59/Pixabay
March 27 (UPI) -- A researcher at Washington State University has developed a diagnostic finger-prick test that can detect a common sexually transmitted infection trich.
Trichomonas vaginalis is a common STI that often goes undiagnosed, due in part to about 70% of people carrying it being asymptomatic. John Alderete, who developed the new test and led a study on the disease, said better diagnosing trich can lead to more people being cured.
Alderete published his findings in the medical journal Pathogens.
"We know a lot about the biology of this organism," Alderete, a professor in WSU's School of Molecular Biosciences, said in a statement. "There probably will never be a vaccine for trich simply because the organism is well equipped to evade our immune responses. But I'd argue we don't need a vaccine. We just need to diagnose people, and once diagnosed, they can be cured."
Most people who carry trich may not show symptoms, but it has been linked to an increased risk in contracting HIV, developing prostate cancer in men, infertility and problems during pregnancy. It can be cured if diagnosed, which Alderete said creates the biggest challenge.
According to the study by Alderete, the finger-prick test requires just one drop of blood to detect the presence of trich by identifying an antibody that is specifically associated with the STI. The antibody is present in men and women who are infected with trich.
"Trich is the most common STI you've probably never heard of," Alderete said in a statement. "This STI may be the most neglected among the other curable STIs. We just have not done a good job in medicine to educate people."