In previous work, we proposed alternative protocols for following patients with treated Chagas disease and these are reviewed herein. Evidence was provided to support the following: (i) functional anti-trypomastigote antibodies are indicative of ongoing chronic Trypanosoma cruzi
infections; (ii) specific antibodies detected by conventional serology (CS) with epimastigote extracts, fixed trypomastigotes or other parasite antigens may circulate years after parasite elimination; (iii) functional antibodies are evidenced by complement-mediated lysis of freshly isolated trypomastigotes,
a test which is 100% specific, highly sensitive, and the first to revert after T. cruzi
elimination and (iv) the parasite target for the lytic antibodies is a glycoprotein of high molecular weight (gp160) anchored at the parasite surface. The complement regulatory protein has been cloned, sequenced and produced as a recombinant protein by other groups and is useful for identifying functional anti-T. cruzi
antibodies in ELISA tests, thus dispensing with the need for live trypomastigotes to manage treated patients. If used instead of CS to define cures for Chagas patients, ELISA will avoid unnecessary delays in finding anti-T. cruzi
drugs. Other highly sensitive techniques for parasite DNA detection, such as PCR, need to be standardized and included in future protocols for the management of patients
with drug-treated Chagas disease.