Researchers from the Aarhus University in Denmark have developed a new test to diagnose malaria infections very quickly and with a high sensitivity. The test measures the activity of the enzyme topoisomerase I from the Plasmodium parasite, which causes malaria.
The new method is based on a technology which the researchers call Rolling Circle Enhanced Enzyme Activity Detection (REEAD). This method is able to diagnose malaria infection with just a single drop of blood or saliva, and on top of that it has high sensitivity and no special training is required to perform the test. Other features of the REEAD method are the ability to detect the infection of less common malaria parasites and measure whether the Plasmodium infection is resistant to drugs.
All these features point towards the direction that this method will be a very powerful weapon in the fight against malaria. Large-scale screening projects and disease eradication programs can very well benefit from this fast and sensitive malaria test. Even infected people who are asymptomatic can be treated in time, tilting the scale a little bit further towards eradication of this terrible pestilence.
Article in ACS Nano: Droplet Microfluidics Platform for Highly Sensitive and Quantitative Detection of Malaria-Causing Plasmodium Parasites Based on Enzyme Activity Measurement.
News from Aarhus University: New Method for Diagnosing Malaria