Dr. Henk Schallig and Dr. Petra Mens (Department of Medical Microbiology – AMC) have received a grant from the European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) to study the diagnostic accuracy, implementation under field conditions (in different endemic settings) and cost effectiveness of a near point of care molecular diagnostic platform for malaria.

The new platform circumvents DNA extractions (direct-on-blood), has a simple read-out format (dipstick) and is performed with minimal solar-powered PCR equipment. This diagnostic could be a replacement for currently employed rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) in situations where these tests do not perform well. RDTs are losing their diagnostic accuracy due to parasite antigen persistence after adequate treatment, mutations in the genome of Plasmodium falciparum parasites and problems with diagnostic sensitivity.

The implementation is done together with partners in Burkina Faso, Namibia, Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya; whereas the cost effectiveness study is performed together with the London School of Economics. Two commercial partners will explore the path to registration and market. EDCTP invests almost 3 million euro in the project.