Antimalarial drug discovery has been facilitated by the development of various in vitro drug susceptibility testing methods suitable for medium-throughput or high-throughput campaigns. Among many, the Plasmodium falciparum lactate dehydrogenase (PfLDH) assay has acceptable demand on equipment, labour, technical skills and affordability and offers a good opportunity for scientists in low- and middle-income countries to participate in the global effort of discovering future antimalarial drugs. Hence, to enable our search for novel antimalarial drugs, we implemented and examined assay conditions and validated the PfLDH-based method in our laboratory using a reference set of standard antimalarial drugs with known activity against Plasmodium falciparum strains. The PfLDH assay revealed acceptable linearity profiles of R = 0.97 and 0.92 for Pf3D7 and PfDd2, respectively, achieved at 2% parasitaemia and 1% haematocrit. The detection and quantitation limits (DL and QL) of the PfLDH-based assay were 0.09% and 0.4% parasitemia, respectively. The assay showed an acceptable average Z-factor between 0.76 and 0.79 and was considerably robust. The average interassay reproducibility via percent coefficient of variation (%CV) was 5.47 between independent experiments. Overall, the PfLDH-based method produced a reliable and reproducible drug screening profile for in vitro assays in our setting. There were no significant interassay variability or hazards of other screening assays.
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