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20 May 2013 09:23
A new quick test could help in the global fight against malaria
Malaria is one of the major health issues across the world, and a main menaces for holidaymakers in tropical regions.
Now, a blood test has been developed which could help diagnose the disease within one hour, and lead to potentially life-saving treatment more quickly. Malaria can be fatal if not treated promptly. Spread by mosquitoes, it kills 655,000 people every year around the globe and reinforces the importance of
medical travel insurance before jetting off on holiday to tropical regions.
Researchers have told the Journal of Infectious Diseases the "Lamp" test could make a huge difference to moves to tackle the disease. The procedure allows health workers to place a blood sample in a test tube with a reactive powder. Once this mixture is heated, the tube will glow green if Plasmodium parasites which cause the disease are present.
Compared to existing tests, the Lamp test is much faster and does not require specialised laboratory equipment, according to researchers from the Hospital for Tropical Diseases (HTD) and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Dr Colin Sutherland, a clinical scientist at HTD and a parasitology reader at the London School of Hygiene, said: "The 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."
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