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Scientists develop a more effective malaria test

Category: Infectious Diseases

One of the main reasons for the continued spread of malaria is the time it takes traditional screening measures to determine if someone has the disease or not. However, researchers from Case Western Reserve University may have developed methods that could result in a quicker malaria test.

Most often, when malaria is contracted, there are several different forms of the virus present. Some of these are relatively harmless and can be treated with medications. However, other forms can be deadly.

Peter Zimmerman, who led the research, found that a mathematical analysis of the various forms of malaria virus infecting an individual may provide quicker, more reliable results than previous malaria tests by pinpointing the likelihood of a virulent infection.

"Each year an estimated 1 million to 2.5 million children die as a direct result of malaria; a conservative estimate is that one child dies of malaria every 30 seconds," he said. "More accurate surveillance of drug resistance in malaria parasite populations will reduce the number of deaths."

Zimmerman added that early detection of drug-resistant forms of the virus may allow doctors to adjust their treatment plans.

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