Fighting malaria with LAMP technology

Meridian Bioscience has announced that it has received the CE Mark for illumigene Malaria, a test developed by the company with technical assistance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Cheikh Anta Diop University of Dakar, Senegal.

The test is claimed to be up to 80,000 times more sensitive at detecting the malaria parasite than conventional tests, potentially revolutionising malaria diagnosis. Using innovative molecular loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) technology, illumigene results are available in under one hour, and the test is easy to use as it does not rely on high-level technical expertise.

Despite a 60% decline in malaria deaths since 2000, it is still one of the top three killers of children worldwide, claiming one life every minute of every day. Malaria is no longer only a disease of sub-Saharan Africa and southern Asia. Increasing numbers of people emigrating from countries where malaria is endemic have resulted in a higher incidence in Europe and the Middle East. The proportion of imported malaria cases has increased during the past few years, from 14% to 86% in more recent studies. On pooling the reports, nearly 43% of malaria cases registered in key European centres occurred in non-nationals.

“illumigene Malaria has the potential to change current practices. Faster and more accurate diagnosis is vital in the fight against malaria. Earlier diagnosis enables the correct treatment to be prescribed, leading to better clinical outcomes for the person with malaria and keeps malaria treatments for the right people. Owing to submicroscopic parasitaemia carriage, a robust, sensitive and field community-deployable screening tool is needed to track the malaria reservoir in pre-elimination regions. illumigene Malaria shows this capacity,” said Professor Daouda Ndiaye from the Department of Parasitology-Mycology, Cheikh Anta Diop University of Dakar, Senegal.