Scientists working in Nigeria have developed a new laser test that can detect malaria in humans within minutes with a simple urine test without drawing blood. Current malaria testing methods requires piecing with a needle to draw blood but the new urine malaria test (UMT), developed by Fyodor Biotechnologies, doesn’t require use of blood.
The fast, non-invasive test can detect malaria in both humans and mosquitoes. It has advantages over current techniques because it does not depend on blood sampling, reagents, facilities or trained personnel. The simplicity – it can be operated by non-medical personnel – and sensitivity of the test mean it could be a low-cost, safe and universal tool for clinical and field diagnoses.
Speaking at the launch of UMT in Abuja, Dr Victoria Enwemadu, Fyodor’s global head of projects, said “There are some challenges with adopting that [national malaria testing] guideline mainstream because of the invasiveness of trying to get blood for testing. Now we have made it easier by just using urine to test for malaria.”
According Enwemadu, the UMT includes a strip that is dipped into urine sample for 25 minutes to give results which can be read as positive, negative or valid, when compared against a control.
“It is based on recombinant antibody technology which searches for malaria parasite in urine sample, and the strip indicates its presence or not,” Dr Eddy Agbo, chairman of Fyodor told LEADERSHIP Friday.
By: Winfred Ogbebo and Victor Okeke