Malaria Test to Identify Parasites

Malaria Test to Identify Parasites

A simple in-vitro and ex-vivo RSAs (ring-stage survival assays) test was created by researchers in the US and Cambodia which can identify slow-clearing Plasmodium falciparum (P falciparum) artemisinin-resistant parasites in people with Malaria.

Artemisinin was a frontline drug against Malaria that prevented 25 percent of deaths about a decade ago. Now scientists discovered it is no longer effective due to the bacteria’s resistance to the drug.   Malaria infects 200 million people and claims 660 thousand lives in the African region alone.

Parasites that cause Malaria

Malaria is caused by a parasite from the genus’ Plasmodium. It is a mosquito borne disease, which undergoes several developmental stages. When the insect takes a blood meal, the parasite is directly transmitted to people. P. falciparum is one of the strains that is prevalent in Africa, which causes half a million deaths each year. Malaria can cause serious health problems such as blindness, brain damage, and cognitive impairment. Symptoms include chills and fever.

NAID researchers discovered that certain strains of Anopheles gambiae mosquito can destroy many Plasmodium genuses, including P. falciparum strains. However, some of the P. falciparum strains from West Africa survive in the resistant mosquito strain. The study that appeared in the May 9, 2013 Science journal also attributes greatly to the parasite’s interaction to the mosquito immune system.

What Attracts Malaria Mosquitoes?

The Anopheles gambiae malaria carrying mosquitoes are attracted to the human odor. Since the skin emits more than 350 odor molecules, the mosquitoes use their sensitive olfactory nerves to identify a handful of these scents that humans emit. There are chemicals that mosquitoes are drawn to, such as the smell of ammonia and lactic acid when we sweat.

In another study, mosquitoes track their victims through carbon dioxide when people exhale. They locate the chemical trails in a zig-zag motion, until they locate the source of food. According to experts in order to reduce your risk of attracting mosquitos: wash your clothes, socks, and take a shower as often as you can, especially if you are living in a tropical setting.

Speedy and Accurate Detection with New and Cheaper Test Kit

Malaria is a potentially fatal disease, but it is preventable and curable, according to the World Health Organization. Early detection is vital. The Journal of Infectious Disease published research about a new, highly sensitive blood test called LAMP that can detect even the lowest levels of malaria parasites in the body. This could make a dramatic difference in efforts to tackle the disease in the UK and across the world.

The LAMP, or loop mediated isothermal amplification, was used in London Laboratories that deals with imported cases of malaria. The LAMP is a highly efficient method that detects low level malaria infection. It is much more accurate than PCR, or polymerase chain reaction, and is also a lot cheaper. Using the PCR requires laboratory equipment, reagents, and trained specialist.

LAMP is a simple test to identify malaria parasites and can be performed by a non specialist worker. The whole process takes less than an hour. A blood sample is placed in a test tube with a reactive powder and heated. The parasite is present if the test tube glows green.

A New Addition to Preventative Efforts

Dr Sutherland found out that the patterns of malaria have become less predictable. People may not display malaria symptoms. The LAMP is now a new tool for identifying hotspots of malaria infection.

According to Dr Colin Sutherland, Clinical scientist at HTD says that the LAMP is being used in UK laboratories and in malaria endemic countries and is now commercially available.

Written by: Janet Grace Ortigas

Sources: MedicalNewsToday  Guardian