Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Simple Blood Test Proves Powerful Ally In The Fight Against Malaria

Date:
May 4, 2009
Source:
Karolinska Institutet
Summary:
Scientists have shown that rapid diagnostic tests for malaria infection can provide valuable support for health care in low and mid-income countries in the fight against the disease. The RDT procedure is based on a simple blood test and, according to the results, helps to ensure that a greater number of patients receive the right treatment at no extra cost for the health care services.

Scientists at Karolinska Institutet have shown that rapid diagnostic tests (RDT) for malaria infection can provide valuable support for healthcare in low and mid-income countries in the fight against the disease. The RDT procedure is based on a simple blood test and, according to the results, helps to ensure that a greater number of patients receive the right treatment at no extra cost for the healthcare services.

"Since the existing test methods are too complicated and expensive for most primary health care clinics in Africa people are prescribed malaria treatment based on presence of fever only", says Dr Anders Björkman, who led the study at Karolinska Institutet s research centre in Zanzibar, Tanzania. "With an improved diagnostic tool, treatment can be targeted to patients with confirmed malaria infection."

Malaria RDT is a relatively new diagnostic method which measures the presence of a protein produced by the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum in a sample of blood taken from the finger. The test requires no advanced laboratory equipment or training, and is already in clinical use. The study by Dr Björkman and colleagues, which is published in the journal PLoS Medicine, is the first broad-front evaluation of the test in clinical operation. It involved four clinics on Zanzibar and data from 1,887 adults and children who all had fever within 48 hours prior to enrolment in the study.

The subjects were divided into two groups, one that was given a regular medical examination and diagnosed on the basis of symptoms only, and one that was also tested with RDT. All patients who were diagnosed with malaria, regardless of method, were prescribed artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT), a treatment based on a Chinese plant called Artemisia annua.

When the patients were followed up two weeks after treatment, it was observed that significantly fewer patients who had been tested with RDT received ACT treatment: 36 per cent, as opposed to 85 per cent of the control (non-RDT) group. However, more antibiotics were prescribed for the RDT group. The number of patient revisits made on account of the perceived ineffectiveness of ACT was also lower in the RDT group.

"This might well prove a minor revolution in the treatment of malaria in the poor countries that are most severely affected," says Dr Björkman. "It also means that we'll get a better picture of the spread of the disease, which will make it possible to develop new, improved control strategies."

It is estimated that some 300 million people a year become infected with malaria, and that approximately one million die of the disease or its complications. Particularly vulnerable are children under five years and pregnant women, in low and mid-income countries in Africa and Asia. The study was conducted in association with the Zanzibar Malaria Control Programme, Médecins Sans Frontières, the Nordic School of Public Health and the WHO.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Msellem et al. Influence of Rapid Malaria Diagnostic Tests on Treatment and Health Outcome in Fever Patients, Zanzibar—A Crossover Validation Study. PLoS Medicine, 2009; 6 (4): e1000070 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1000070

Cite This Page:

Karolinska Institutet. "Simple Blood Test Proves Powerful Ally In The Fight Against Malaria." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 May 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090427203637.htm>.
Karolinska Institutet. (2009, May 4). Simple Blood Test Proves Powerful Ally In The Fight Against Malaria. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090427203637.htm
Karolinska Institutet. "Simple Blood Test Proves Powerful Ally In The Fight Against Malaria." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090427203637.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) — New research shows Gilead Science's drug Sovaldi helps in curing hepatitis C in those who suffer from HIV. In a medical study, the combination of Gilead's Hep C drug with anti-viral drug Ribavirin cured 76% of HIV-positive patients suffering from the most common hepatitis C strain. Hepatitis C and related complications have been a top cause of death in HIV-positive patients. Typical medication used to treat the disease, including interferon proteins, tended to react badly with HIV drugs. However, Sovaldi's %1,000-a-pill price tag could limit the number of patients able to access the treatment. TheStreet's Keris Lahiff reports from New York. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) — Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tooth Plaque Provides Insight Into Diets Of Ancient People

Tooth Plaque Provides Insight Into Diets Of Ancient People

Newsy (July 19, 2014) — Research on plaque from ancient teeth shows that our prehistoric ancestor's had a detailed understanding of plants long before developing agriculture. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Contaminated Water Kills 3 Babies in South African Town

Contaminated Water Kills 3 Babies in South African Town

AFP (July 18, 2014) — Contaminated water in South Africa's northwestern town of Bloemhof kills three babies and hospitalises over 500 people. The incident highlights growing fears over water safety in South Africa. Duration: 02:22 Video provided by AFP
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:
from the past week

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