The FDA has cleared the first of its kind quick lab test for malaria. The three-step diagnostic device is a rapid immunodiagnostic assay for the detection of circulating Plasmodium falciparum antigen and an antigen that is common to all four species of malaria: Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium ovale, and Plasmodium malariae.
Results are available in 15 minutes after a few drops of whole blood are placed on a dipstick. The test can also differentiate the most dangerous malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, from less virulent malaria parasites. Results still need to be confirmed using standard microscopic evaluation.