News / Health

New Test Could Revolutionize Malaria Treatment

A young girl with malaria rests in the inpatient ward of the Malualkon Primary Health Care Center in Malualkon, in the South Sudanese state of Northern Bahr el-Ghazal, June 1, 2012.
A young girl with malaria rests in the inpatient ward of the Malualkon Primary Health Care Center in Malualkon, in the South Sudanese state of Northern Bahr el-Ghazal, June 1, 2012.
A new diagnostic test could revolutionize the treatment of malaria, one of the world’s most persistent and deadly diseases, making it possible to diagnose the illness from a single drop of blood or saliva.

The test, developed by researchers at Aarhus University in Denmark, detects very low levels of an enzyme produced by the Plasmodium parasite, the organism that causes malaria. This could allow intervention before an outbreak develops, researchers say. 

“The great advantage of our method is that we can test for malaria using saliva samples and the the detection limit is very low - less than one parasite per microliter,” said Birgitta Knudsen, an associate professor at Aarhus University’s Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Centre and the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics. “This means that it will be possible to also screen non-symptomatic individuals and discover cases with very low parasite concentrations. Hence, it will be possible to treat even mildly infected patients and thereby prevent outbreaks before it is too late.”

The two most common forms of malaria testing both require blood samples, and there are drawbacks to each. One requires a skilled technician to test the blood, while the other cannot detect low levels of the parasite, Knudsen said.

The new method, which uses a technology called REEAD (Rolling Circle-Enhanced Enzyme Activity Detection), could prove more time- and cost-effective than current diagnostic methods, and could be performed by personnel who have no specialized training. It could also be used in developing areas, where expensive equipment, clean water and electricity might not be readily available.

Knudsen said the team hopes to conduct extensive field testing in about two years.

The Danish team was assisted by molecular biologists, doctors, engineers and statisticians at various universities around the world including Duke University, the University of Rome, the University of St. Andrews and the University of Lyon.

The World Health Organization estimates that more than 650,000 people die from malaria each year. The vast majority are children in sub-Saharan Africa.

Earlier this month British drug manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline, revealed disappointing results for what would be the world’s first vaccination against the mosquito-borne disease.

You May Like

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: littleyan from: China
November 29, 2012 9:26 PM
May this could really help.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid