altona helps combat malaria with two RealStar® PCR malaria kits
The potentially life-threatening disease is caused by one of the 5 human pathogenic Plasmodium parasite species whereof P. falciparum and P. vivax represent the greatest threat. Malaria is a vector borne disease spread to humans by infected female Anopheles mosquitoes and mostly affects tropical countries.
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. In 2021 Ramírez et al. evaluated the high performance of our RealStar® malaria kits.
Moreover, a malaria PCR kit that can be used with the AltoStar® Molecular Diagnostic Workflow is currently under development.
Malaria is preventable, by avoiding mosquito bites, and curable. First symptoms may be mild and difficult to recognize as malaria but left untreated an infection with P. falciparum can lead to sever illness and death.
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. Infection with P. vivax, P. malariae, and P. ovale usually results in uncomplicated malaria that does not require hospitalization, yet P. vivax is the predominant malaria parasite in most countries outside sub-Saharan Africa. In contrast, P. falciparum and P. knowlesi often lead to severe illness and death if untreated. Those at high risk for severe infection include infants, children under 5 years of age, pregnant women, travelers, and persons with HIV or AIDS.
Almost half of the world’s population was at risk of transmission in 2021. In 2021 there were about 247 million malaria cases and 619,000 malaria deaths worldwide (World malaria report 2021, WHO). Most of these Malaria cases (95 %) were from the WHO African region.
After at least 3 consecutive years of zero indigenous cases, countries 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. An early diagnosis and the species typing are very important to adapt the medication and gain the optimal treatment.