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Serology for visceral leishmaniasis: How trusty is the accuracy reported by the manufacturers?


Timely and accurate diagnosis is one of the strategies for managing visceral leishmaniasis (VL). Given the specificities of this infection, which affects different vulnerable populations, the local assessment of the accuracy of the available diagnostic test is a requirement for the good use of resources. In Brazil, performance data are required for test registration with the National Regulatory Agency (ANVISA), but there are no minimum requirements established for performance evaluation. Here, we compared the accuracy reported in the manufacturer’s instructions of commercially available VL-diagnostic tests in Brazil, and the accuracies reported in the scientific literature which were obtained after test commercialization. The tests were identified via the electronic database of ANVISA, and their accuracy was obtained from the manufacturer’s instructions. A literature search for test accuracy was performed using two databases. A total of 28 VL diagnostic tests were identified through the ANVISA database. However, only 13 presented performance data in the manufacturer’s instructions, with five immunoenzymatic tests, three indirect immunofluorescence tests, one chemiluminescence test, and four rapid tests. For most tests, the manufacturers did not provide the relevant information, such as sample size, reference standards, and study site. The literature review identified accuracy data for only 61.5% of diagnostic tests registered in Brazil. These observations confirmed that there are significant flaws in the process of registering health technologies and highlighted one of the reasons for the insufficient control of policies, namely, the use of potentially inaccurate and inappropriate diagnostic tools for a given scenario.

Visceral leishmaniasis; Diagnostic tests; Performance; Accuracy; Validation

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