The test can quickly and economically detect adulterants, including the substance responsible for hundreds of illnesses and deaths among patients taking heparin in 2008. The report appears in ACS' journal Analytical Chemistry.
David Keire and Cynthia Sommers explain that in 2008, a number of patients died and hundreds patients became seriously ill after receiving batches of the blood thinner that had been adulterated. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced a major recall of heparin, and scientists identified the culprit — a substance called "oversulfated chondroitin sulfate" (OSCS). OSCS is a synthetic dietary supplement derived from chondroitin sulfate type A that some people take to treat osteoarthritis. Like heparin, OSCS also prevents blood from forming dangerous clots.
But unlike heparin, OSCS can trigger potentially fatal anaphylactic reactions in sensitive individuals. Scientists concluded that OSCS, which is inexpensive, had been intentionally added to heparin as a so-called "economically motivated adulterant" (EMA), to boost profits. Current tests to detect EMAs in heparin are difficult to perform and must be done in laboratories.
To overcome these challenges, the researchers developed a simple color test in which normal heparin samples turn red in color but OSCS contaminated samples do not change color. In the present study, Keire and Sommers wanted to know whether their test could detect additional EMAs. They found that the test could detect several other possible EMAs, such as those that could be made by over-sulfation of waste products formed during heparin production. The researchers say that, on the basis of their results, a portable test to detect even tiny amounts of different EMAs could be developed to insure the safety of the heparin supply chain.
Michael Bernstein | EurekAlert!
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The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.
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The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
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Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
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