Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Engineers Create New Technique For Malaria Diagnosis

Date:
April 28, 2008
Source:
University of Exeter
Summary:
Researchers from the Universities of Exeter and Coventry have developed the first new technique for diagnosing malaria able to challenge the rapid diagnostic tests currently used in the field. Early results suggest that the technique could be as effective as RDTs but far faster and cheaper. The team is now working on a noninvasive version of the device, which it plans to trial in Kenya later this year.

Researchers from the Universities of Exeter and Coventry have developed the first new technique for diagnosing malaria able to challenge the rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) currently used in the field. Early results, now published in the Biophysical Journal, suggest that the technique could be as effective as RDTs but far faster and cheaper, making it a potentially viable alternative. The team is now working on a non-invasive version of the device, which with the assistance of a team from the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT), Department of Biomedical Research in Amsterdam, it is planning to trial in Kenya later this year.

Two years in the making and funded by the European Union, this technique uses magneto-optic technology (MOT) to detect haemozoin, a waste product of the malarial parasite, in the blood. Haemozoin crystals are weakly magnetic and have a distinct rectangular form. They also exhibit optical dichroism, which means that they absorb light more strongly along their length than across their width. When aligned by a magnetic field they behave like a weak Polaroid© sheet such as used in sunglasses. This new technology takes advantage of these properties to give a precise reading of the presence of haemozoin in a small blood sample. The team has created a device, which gives a positive or negative reading for malaria in less than a minute.

The new device has a totally different approach from RDTs, which use a chemical agent to detect antigens associated with the malarial parasite. One of the problems with RDTs is that they need to be kept within a given temperature range, which is difficult in hot climates. These disposable kits cost between $1.50 and $4.50 each and take around 15 minutes to deliver a reading.

High-power microscopy is still the best method available for malaria diagnosis and has been used for more than a century. Unfortunately it is time-consuming and requires expensive equipment and specialist medical skills, which are rarely available in villages in rural areas in malaria endemic countries. Over the last decade RDTs have been developed, which allow for faster diagnosis in the field, but these are too costly to be viable for developing countries. Furthermore, RDTs are often not stable at relatively high temperatures and sometimes remain positive even after successful treatment. In many communities where malaria is having a severe impact on health, there is no testing for malaria and young children who have a fever are given anti-malaria drugs as a matter of course. This has contributed to the malarial parasite becoming increasingly resistant to the common anti-malaria drugs. Malaria is a disease for which there is still no vaccine.

Professor Dave Newman of the University of Exeter's School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics, said: "There is an urgent need for a new diagnostic technique for malaria, particularly in the light of global warming, which threatens to spread the disease into new parts of the world, including southern Europe. The early results from our device are very promising and hugely exciting. We expect to ultimately produce a sensitive non-invasive device that will be cost effective and easy to use, making it suitable for developing countries, where the need is greatest."

This research was carried out by the University of Exeter, University of Coventry and KIT Biomedical Research, Amsterdam and was funded under the European Commission Framework 6 Program.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Exeter. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Exeter. "Engineers Create New Technique For Malaria Diagnosis." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 April 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080427194738.htm>.
University of Exeter. (2008, April 28). Engineers Create New Technique For Malaria Diagnosis. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080427194738.htm
University of Exeter. "Engineers Create New Technique For Malaria Diagnosis." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080427194738.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued new protocols for healthcare workers interacting with Ebola patients. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) — A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Issues New Ebola Guidelines for Health Workers

CDC Issues New Ebola Guidelines for Health Workers

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 21, 2014) — The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has set up new guidelines for health workers taking care of patients infected with Ebola. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) — Where's a body buried? Buster's nose can often tell you. He's a cadaver dog, specially trained to find human remains and increasingly being used by law enforcement and accepted in courts. These dogs are helping solve even decades-old mysteries. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins