Intellectual Ventures’s Global Good division has teamed up with General Electric to create a new test for malaria that’s designed to spot even the parasites that cause the disease, even in cases that would otherwise be missed by traditional testing.
It’s important work, since someone can be a host to malaria-causing parasites for months before showing symptoms, all the while transmitting those parasites to mosquitoes that then carry it to other hosts. By detecting the parasites early, health workers can provide treatment to affected people, and hopefully eradicate the disease altogether in the future.
The test is powered by work that GE Global Research did on a Lateral Flow Immunoassay (LFA) test for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and a “state-of-the-art reader that will detect nanoparticles tagged to key bio-markers for the detection of malaria” developed by Global Good.
“With this technology, we’d like to arm health workers to simply and accurately detect malaria in more remote locations with easy-to-use yet advanced technology,” Deborah Zajac, the director of business development at GE Ventures, said in a blog post announcing the partnership. “The idea is to give people an accurate diagnosis and therapeutics on the spot, wherever they are.”
The partnership between Global Good, GE Ventures and GE Global Research is slated to last for two years with field trials of the new test slated to begin this summer. If the tests are successful, the two companies will try and modify the test to detect tuberculosis as well.