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'Malaria breathalizer' provides new avenue to detect disease

News Desk
News Desk

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Tue, November 7, 2017 | 08:09 pm
'Malaria breathalizer' provides new avenue to detect disease

With modern methods and medications, the mortality rate of malaria has been decreasing over the years. (Shutterstock/File)

Malaria has become a recurring epidemic in the past decade. But with modern methods and medications, the mortality rate for malaria has been decreasing over the years. But this does not mean doctors and disease experts should relax.

There have been reports that malaria has not been expressing its HRP2 gene. This proves an obstacle for future medical practitioners since the gene’s expression is the sole indicator for Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDTs), which involve the “staining” of blood samples to make the malaria parasites a more visible purple color.

But it seems that malaria parasites have been becoming smarter. According to Wire, there may be a solution.

Read also: Ministry warns tourists traveling to Eastern Indonesia of malaria infection

There is ample evidence to suggest that malaria parasites change the composition of their victim’s breath to attract more mosquitoes. So having a device that detects the change of a person’s breath composition may have significant positive changes.

The use of the “malaria breathalyzer” can provide a new avenue to detect malaria in its early stages. The device in its present stage may not be a device at all but just a plastic bottle with a cardboard mouthpiece that stores the patient’s breath for further analysis in a far-away lab. The current method also shows a lower accuracy in results compared with RDT results.

However, many medical practitioners in remote and isolated environments are excited to have a compact device such as a breathalyzer for the detection of malaria. (ezr/kes)

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