what’s the newest form of malaria detection?
While the traditional form of malaria detection has been through microscopy of a blood film slide, two new technologies have recently emerged. The first is the use of reagent strips, which are impregnated with molecules that bind to various other proteins present in the blood during a malaria infection. These reagent strips are usually manufactured as part of a rapid diagnostic test (RDT) kit, whereby a patient only has to provide a single drop of blood, and the result can be read within minutes, a bit like a pregnancy test. The other new method which has emerged is based on PCR (polymerase chain reaction) technology. This method looks for malaria DNA directly in the patient’s blood, using specific sequences of DNA that are unique to the malaria parasite. This method is expensive and takes several hours at minimum, but is very sensitive, and even very low levels of malaria can be detected.