altona helps combat malaria with PCR test kits
April 25 is World Malaria Day, one of the WHO global health days.
Malaria, which is caused by one of the 5 human pathogenic Plasmodium species, is a severe illness in tropic and subtropic regions.
altona Diagnostics offers two in vitro diagnostic tests, based on real-time PCR technology, for the detection of Plasmodium spp. specific DNA.
With the RealStar® Malaria PCR Kit 1.0, Plasmodium spp. specific DNA – including the five human pathogenic species Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium malariae, Plasmodium ovale, and Plasmodium knowlesi – can be detected. The RealStar® Malaria Screen & Type PCR Kit 1.0 can be used to differentiate between the 5 Plasmodium species.
Both kits are very sensitive and can even detect and type submicroscopic infections. The high performance of these kits was evaluated in a study from Dr. Silvia Di Santi and colleagues from the “Instituto de Medicina Tropical, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade de São Paulo”.
Moreover, a malaria PCR kit that can be used with the AltoStar® Molecular Diagnostic Workflow is currently under development.
Malaria is a tropical disease caused by the eukaryotic parasite Plasmodium. 5 human pathogenic Plasmodium species (P. falciparum, P. vivax, P. malariae, P. ovale and P. knowlesi) exist which are responsible for different forms of Malaria. This parasite is transmitted by the bite of an infected female Anopheles mosquito. First symptoms appear 10–15 days after being bitten and include fever, chills, headache and other flu-like symptoms. An infection with P. vivax, P. malariae and P. ovale usually leads to uncomplicated malaria that does not require hospitalization. In contrast, P. falciparum and P. knowlesi often lead to severe illness and death if untreated.
About half of the world population is at risk of transmission. In 2020 there were about 241 million malaria cases and 627,000 malaria deaths worldwide (World malaria report 2021, WHO). Most of these Malaria cases (95 %) were from the WHO African region.
Countries that have achieved at least 3 consecutive years of zero indigenous cases are eligible to apply for a WHO certification of malaria-free status. Nevertheless, in these countries Malaria cases might still occur from travelers coming from high-risk regions.
Malaria infections can be prevented by either vector control or the use of different antimalaria drugs like chloroquine. Additionally, a vaccine is available and is recommend by the WHO for children living in high-risk malaria regions. Malaria can be treated effectively with different drugs and the type of medication is depending on the Plasmodium species and the health status of the patient. If Malaria is not treated quickly and properly the infection can become life threating in a few days, especially for P. falciparum. An early diagnosis and the species typing is very important to adapt the medication and gain the optimal treatment.