Current point-of-care tests for malaria are suitable for diagnosis of malaria in people with typical symptoms, but many people carry malaria without symptoms, often with very low levels of parasites in their blood. Screening communities for malaria and treating people with low level infection requires a very sensitive test. Frequent blood screening may not be acceptable in some communities. Our investigators are developing electronic tests for malaria detection in saliva and ultrasensitive rapid diagnostic tests, for fast and painless detection of malaria at very low parasitaemia. New strategies are also being developed for non-invasive capillary sampling in remote areas, so that samples can be collected, transported and stored without the need for refrigeration. These samples can then be used for mass screening and high-throughput testing using molecular testing, parasite and host genotyping, and serological profiling.
Other project team members: Benedikt Ley, Jutta Marfurt, Vashti Irani