New Assay Spots Fake Malaria Drugs
    By News Staff | July 15th 2014 04:32 PM | 1 comment | Print | E-mail | Track Comments

    A new assay is inexpensive, simple, and can tell whether or not one of the primary drugs being used to treat malaria is genuine – an enormous and deadly problem in the developing world.

    The World Health Organization has estimated that up to 200,000 lives a year may be lost due to the use of counterfeit anti-malarial drugs. When commercialized, the new technology may be able to help address that problem by testing drugs for efficacy at a cost of a few cents.

    The "colorimetric" assay can be used to tell whether or not people are getting the medication they paid for – artesunate - which is by far the most important drug used to treat serious cases of malaria.  What kind of miscreant sells fake malaria drugs? Lots of countries banned DDT, and that killed a lot more people than a fake drug has.

    The assay also verifies that an adequate level of the drug is present and, if implemented, might save thousands of lives every year around the world, and similar technology could also be developed for other types of medications and diseases.

    This approach is used to prepare a paper assay that can tell whether a common drug used to treat malaria is genuine. Graphic courtesy of Oregon State University

    "There are laboratory methods to analyze medications such as this, but they often are not available or widely used in the developing world where malaria kills thousands of people every year," said Vincent Remcho, a professor of chemistry at Oregon State University. "What we need are inexpensive, accurate assays that can detect adulterated pharmaceuticals in the field, simple enough that anyone can use them. Our technology should provide that."

    In some places in the developing world, more than 80 percent of outlets are selling counterfeit pharmaceuticals, researchers have found. One survey found that 38-53 percent of outlets in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam had no active drug in the product that was being sold. Artesunate, which can cost $1 to $2 per adult treatment, is considered an expensive drug by the standards of the developing world, making counterfeit drugs profitable since the disease is so prevalent.

    Besides allowing thousands of needless deaths, the spread of counterfeit drugs with sub-therapeutic levels of artesunate can promote the development of new strains of multi-drug resistant malaria, with global impacts. Government officials could also use the new system as a rapid screening tool to help combat the larger problem of drug counterfeiting.

    The new technology is an application of microfluidics, in this instance paper microfluidics, in which a film is impressed onto paper that can then detect the presence and level of the artesunate drug. A single pill can be crushed, dissolved in water, and when a drop of the solution is placed on the paper, it turns yellow if the drug is present. The intensity of the color indicates the level of the drug, which can be compared to a simple color chart.

    OSU undergraduate and graduate students in chemistry and computer science working on this project in the Remcho lab took the system a step further, and created an app for an iPhone that could be used to measure the color, and tell with an even higher degree of accuracy both the presence and level of the drug.

    The technology is similar to what can be accomplished with computers and expensive laboratory equipment, but is much simpler and less expensive. As a result, use of this approach may significantly expand in medicine, scientists said.

    "This is conceptually similar to what we do with integrated circuit chips in computers, but we're pushing fluids around instead of electrons, to reveal chemical information that's useful to us," Remcho said. "Chemical communication is how Mother Nature does it, and the long term applications of this approach really are mind-blowing."

    Colorimetric assays have already been developed for measurement of many biomarker targets of interest, Remcho said, and could be expanded for a wide range of other medical conditions, pharmaceutical and diagnostic tests, pathogen detection, environmental analysis and other uses.

    With a proof of concept of the new technology complete, the researchers may work with the OSU Advantage to commercialize the technology, ultimately with global application. As an incubator for startup and early stage organizations, OSU Advantage connects business with faculty expertise and student talent to bring technology such as this to market.

     Published in Talanta. Source: Oregon State University


    In year 2000 Professor Henry Lai's discovered that the malaria parasites reproductive cycle is disrupted by a arbitrary 5 hertz oscillating magnetic field.Since then there have been 3 confirmatory research findings of the original discovery but no one has actually implemented it on a large scale apart from a very small trial in Ghana as explained below in words and pictures.

    I am astonished why not a single African malaria fighter is I have spoken to seems to be aware of it or knows about or wants to do anything about it.They all seem to be waiting for White Man to do it for them.

    Since you are and your colleagues are well educated technically why don't you take up the challenge and bring this to mainstream usage and save lives? Make a difference.

    The device which is pictured below is based on the research on the links.Please read the PDF.The device can be build in a day by any reasonably competent technical person. Please study the Malaria Treatment using oscillating magnetic fields in the below PDF and help these suffering people.6000 people die daily from malaria.

    People just like you.Children,men,women, mothers and fathers dying in great pain and suffering from malaria right now. Remember just because it's not shown on the television does not mean it's not happening.

    Most of the information to build this machine is below.It is not expensive or difficult.It just consists coils of wire and a function generator.These parts are all available in Collages and Universities science labs and electronic stores or ebay and the cost would be under $100.

    The machine in the picture is proof of concept and was tested in Ghana.Results quoted are:-" Now our first study is finished and 26 patients were treated. Out of the 26 patients, all except one became negative with the magnetic treatment! One felt worse the day after treatment started and decided to go for medication instead, so he dropped out of the study. The other 25 patients all became negative. And the ones who did not have high levels of parasites, were negative right after the first 60 minutes of treatment! This is so fast that we do not really have an explanation of how it could work so quickly...."

    The oscillating magnetic field does not have to be large and is safe being much less than 100 times then in an MRI machine.The values are given in the PDF below.

    The shiny aluminum frame can be replaced by a wooden or plastic frame or a room could be fitted with Helmholtz coils driven by a function generator or even mains frequency current as additional research recently in 2012 shows higher frequencies then the original arbitrary 5 Hertz are even more effective.

    Both PDF's can be downloaded free and studied at leisure. I hope everyone unites together in this project and responds in a positive light and helps to make a difference in the world we all live in together.