The international nonprofit organization PATH announced a new partnership with South Korean company SD Biosensor to support the development of a new diagnostic for malaria.
PATH and SD Biosensor developed a simple, low-cost device, Standard G6PD, to guide appropriate clinical care of patients with Plasmodium vivax malaria who also have a hereditary enzyme deficiency that
can lead to severe anaemia if the patient receives treatment with 8-aminoquinoline-based drugs to cure the infection.
WHO recommends that patients be tested for glucose-6-phosphate-dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency before the radical cure is administered. Currently available rapid tests for G6PD deficiency do not adequately determine the G6PD status of women who carry the gene for G6PD deficiency on only one X chromosome and have intermediate G6PD activity levels.
Current tests that provide this level of determination
of G6PD activity in women are too expensive and complex for use at the point of care in low-resource settings where P. vivax is endemic.
To address this gap, PATH is advancing a portfolio of novel rapid tests for G6PD deficiency that are easy to use and meet specifications to improve treatment of patients with P. vivax malaria and support elimination programmes.
SD Biosensor’s Standard G6PD Test is a handheld device that delivers results in two minutes and provides a quantitative measure of G6PD activity, including in heterozygous women. The test uses a small sample of blood, which is placed on a disposable strip and inserted into the reusable device, a format similar to a blood glucose meter that is easy to use at the point of care in low-resource settings. It provides a quantitative measurement of both G6PD levels and total haemoglobin, enabling health workers to determine if radical cure with an 8-aminoquinoline-based drug is appropriate for patients.
Funding to PATH to support advancement of new G6PD diagnostic tools has been provided by
UKAid from the United Kingdom Department for International Development and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.