Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Simple blood test proves powerful ally in the fight against malaria

29.04.2009
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 Institutets 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.

Publication:
Mwinyi I. Msellem, Andreas Mårtensson, Guida Rotllant, Achuyt Bhattarai, Johan Strömberg, Elizeus Kahigwa, Montse Garcia, Max Petzold, Peter Olumese, Abdullah Ali and Anders Björkman
"Influence of Rapid Malaria Diagnostic Tests on treatment and health outcome in fever patients, Zanzibar - A crossover validation study"

PLoS Medicine, vol 6(4), 27 April 2009.

Katarina Sternudd | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ki.se

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Study suggests possible new target for treating and preventing Alzheimer's
02.12.2016 | Oregon Health & Science University

nachricht The first analysis of Ewing's sarcoma methyloma opens doors to new treatments
01.12.2016 | IDIBELL-Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

High-precision magnetic field sensing

05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Construction of practical quantum computers radically simplified

05.12.2016 | Information Technology

NASA's AIM observes early noctilucent ice clouds over Antarctica

05.12.2016 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>