A drop of blood or saliva to help diagnose malaria

Researchers have developed a new, inexpensive and sensitive method that makes it possible to diagnose malaria from a single drop of blood or saliva. The method might eventually be used in low-resource areas without the need for specially trained personnel, expensive equipment, clean water or electricity. With the development of this method, the researchers hope to go one step further in identifying and treating people suffering from malaria.

Researchers at Aarhus University have developed the method based on measuring the activity of an enzyme called topoisomerase I from the Plasmodium parasite. The technology called REEAD (Rolling Circle-Enhanced Enzyme Activity Detection) makes it possible to diagnose malaria from a single drop of blood or saliva, a statement was made.

This method is much more time-effective and cost-effective than current diagnostic methods and can be performed by personnel with no specialized in training. It can be used in low-resource areas without the use of expensive equipment, clean water or electricity. The ongoing fight against malaria is complicated by increasing problems with resistant Plasmodium parasites. In addition, several Plasmodium species (P vivax and P knowlesi) cannot be detected with the usual quick-test methods.

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