US-based life science company Meridian Bioscience has developed its new illumigene Malaria molecular-based, field laboratory-deployed test to diagnose malaria.

In comparison with existing tests, illumigene Malaria is claimed to be around 80,000 times more sensitive at detecting the parasite.

It employs loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) technology to amplify DNA and detect the parasite.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Cheikh Anta Diop University of Dakar, Senegal, provided technical assistance for the development of the test.

Meridian Bioscience research and development executive vice-president Slava Elagin said: “People can be carriers of malaria without showing any symptoms, so detecting these individuals can be challenging.

“If testing doesn’t identify them, eliminating malaria is impossible because these individuals can spread the disease to others.”

Molecular testing is considered to be more effective in the detection of very low levels of malaria parasites, which enables treatment and prevention of the spread of the disease.

The new test can be used in the field laboratory, where there is a particularly high presence of malarial infection that is hard to diagnose and treat.

"In comparison to existing tests, illumigene Malaria is claimed to be around 80,000 times more sensitive at detecting the parasite."

Special training or capital investment is not required for the user-friendly test that provides results within one hour and can be stored at room temperature.

The aim of the new test is to enhance the current testing protocols, instead of replacing them.

When combined with rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) and microscopy, the test can create a network of detection protocols to help administer treatment appropriately.

Meridian Bioscience Europe will distribute the test in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, while the firm's global distribution network will supply to other international markets.