Supporting the fight for malaria elimination.
In 2016, PATH and its partner GSK announced a collaboration with BD to develop a new rapid diagnostic test to support the clinical care of malaria patients. This test aims to support efforts to eliminate Plasmodium vivax malaria, a disease that puts 2.85 billion people at risk worldwide, mainly in Southeast Asia and Latin America, with 2 to 3 million confirmed cases globally. P. vivax is especially difficult to eliminate because the parasite can lie dormant in the liver and cause relapsing illness. Relapse prevention using a class of drugs known as 8-aminoquinolines is the only means to kill the liver form of the parasite. 8-aminoquinoline drugs can cause serious side effects in patients with severe glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency, a hereditary condition in humans that commonly occurs in places where malaria is found. It is therefore necessary to test patients for G6PD deficiency before administering treatment with an 8-aminoquinoline. However, current diagnostic tests for G6PD deficiency lack the simplicity needed to be utilized broadly. The BD point-of-care test in development will measure levels of G6PD enzyme activity and hemoglobin in a small sample of blood.