Development of 15-minute malaria test a year ahead of schedule


Nanotechnology consortium to begin field testing fingerprick test

UK nanotechnology experts have announced they are a year ahead of schedule with the development of a unique new pinprick test that will enable targeted treatment of malaria worldwide.

Amid growing concern that powerful artemisinin-based combination therapies will soon become ineffective the Nanomal consortium, led by St George’s, University of London and Newcastle-based QuantuMDx Group, is using cutting-edge nanotechnology to develop an affordable, easy-to-use smartphone-like device that will be able to analyse the DNA of different malaria strains from a & finger-prick of blood in just 15 minutes. This will enable targeted ‘personalised’ prescription of drug combinations.

And the €5.2m project consortium, which is funded by the European Union, has this week revealed that it will have a prototype device ready for field testing later this year – 12 months ahead of schedule.

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QuantuMDx’s chief executive, Elaine Warburton, said: “Placing a full malaria screen with drug resistance status based on accurate DNA analysis in the palm of a health professional’s hand will allow instant prescribing of the most-effective anti-malaria medication for that patient. Nanomal’s rapid, low-cost DNA testing will further support the global health challenge to eradicate malaria.”