Meridian Malaria Test Saving Lives

Apr 25, 2017

Researchers in Europe and philanthropists in New York are singing the praises Tuesday of a new malaria test from Newtown-based Meridian Bioscience on this World Malaria Day.

The company's extremely accurate test, detecting the mosquito-borne disease even  before the patient has symptoms, was deployed in Dakar, Senegal a year ago and is now in more than 100 locations.

The test, called  illumigene Malaria, is 80,000 times more accurate than current tests for malaria and it looks for changes in the amount of light passing through a test tube.

Here's how it works:

The old way of testing involves looking through a microscope to detect the malaria parasite. The new test can be read in 40 minutes by people who do not have a high level of technical expertise.

Meridian's Richard Eberly says, illumigene Malaria should be introduced into more African countries, "so they can detect and treat those individuals who are going below the radar screen with current testing methods because they are not accurate enough to treat those individuals and when they do go back in the community they won't reinfect their families and friends."

Doctors say malaria is still one of the top three killers of children worldwide, claiming one life every minute of every day.