Saturday, May 18, 2013

New Easy to Use Malaria Test Kit (LAMP) Detects Low Level of Parasite in Blood

A new, easy to use and highly sensitive test that detects malaria parasite in patients suffering from malaria has been developed in UK. It detects malaria with least number of parasites in the peripheral blood, where the conventional tests may fail.

English: Life cycle of malaria, NIH, http://hi...
English: Life cycle of malaria, NIH, not very many people have lived through Malaria (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This was published in the ScienceDaily after original publication in the Journal of Infectious DiseasesThe new test is called LAMP (Loop-Mediated Isothermal Amplification) and was tested by researchers in UK and Switzerland in two studies.
This is a simple test that can be performed by a non-specialist health workers. Conventionally, for microscopic study of parasite in a blood smear specialist technicians and pathologists, expert in recognising it are required; also in Polymerase Chain reaction (PCR) experts are required to process and read the samples.
Here, a sample of blood processed and placed in a test tube with a reactive powder then heated; if the malaria-causing Plasmodium parasites are present, the tube glows green. The whole process takes less than an hour.
According to a study UK treats at least 1,500 cases of imported malaria every year. Despite the very best efforts of the NHS, a handful of malaria related deaths still occur annually in UK hospitals. The new LAMP test for malaria performed very well when tested in the parasite reference laboratory at HTD, and correctly identified every malaria patient out of 705 malaria tests performed.
LAMP was faster than PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests, which require specialised laboratory equipment, costly reagents and advanced training. It was also more accurate than microscopic examination of blood slides, which require a trained specialist to identify the malaria parasites.
Blood samples from 272 patients with suspected malaria were tested using LAMP using a simple generator to provide electrical current. These results were compared with expert microscopy and PCR performed at central reference laboratories. LAMP detected cases of low-level malaria parasite infection that were missed by expert microscopy, and achieved accuracy similar to that of PCR down to very low levels.
The researchers say these findings have important implications for eliminating malaria, which causes an estimated 660,000 deaths worldwide every year.

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