Washington: A new, highly sensitive blood test that quickly detects even the lowest levels of malaria parasites in the body could make a dramatic difference for tackling the disease across the world.In two studies led by researchers in the UK and Switzerland, the new LAMP (loop-mediated isothermal amplification) test was compared to existing methods in London laboratories that deal with imported cases of malaria to the UK, and to diagnostic methods used in the field in Uganda, where malaria is a leading cause of illness and death.The simple test, which can be performed by a non-specialist health worker and does not need refrigerating like other tests, requires a sample of blood to be processed and placed in a test tube with a reactive powder then heated.If the malaria-causing Plasmodium parasites are present, the tube glows green. The whole process takes less than an hour.The first study, led in London by the Hospital for Tropical Diseases (HTD), the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND), compared LAMP to existing laboratory diagnostic methods on 705 blood samples of suspected imported malaria cases in the UK.
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