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article imageNew sensitive test for malaria developed

By Tim Sandle     Mar 18, 2013 in Science
Scientists at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have collaborated on the development of what has been heralded as the most sensitive laboratory technique for the determination of malaria transmission.
According to an FDA press release, the new test detects a protein (called Plasmodium falciparum circumsporozoite) on the surface of the Plasmodium parasite. Given that the protein is the basis of new vaccine development, the test can be used to determine how effective newly developed vaccines are.
Using antibodies, enzymes, and a special chemical solution, the assay generates tiny amounts of signal that a special detector collects and uses to determine the amount of the special protein is present in a sample. Importantly, the assay cannot indicate how safe a vaccine is in terms of the person it is administered to.
Importantly, the test may also have a second use. Researchers might be able to adapt the assay for monitoring and tracking of how many mosquitoes in a given area are infected.
Malaria, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, is caused by a single-celled parasite belonging to genus Plasmodium, is transmitted, by mosquitoes, in areas in over one hundred countries risking about 3.3 billion people. Mosquitoes spread the parasite to humans through their bites; the parasite then travels to the liver, where it matures and reproduces in forms that infect the red cells and cause clinical symptoms.
For the development, the FDA collaborated with scientists from The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funded PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative. The findings have been published in the Journal of Immunological Methods.
More about Malaria, Mosquitoes, Dna, tropical disease, Gates Foundation
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