News and Highlights
Approximately half of the world’s population is at risk of malaria, a life-threatening disease caused by Plasmodium parasites and transmitted by mosquitoes. Malaria is preventable and curable, and early diagnosis and treatment of malaria prevents deaths and reduces transmission. The World Health Organization recommends that all cases of suspected malaria be confirmed using parasite-based diagnostic testing before administering treatment. Reliable, robust, and cost-efficient microscopy and rapid diagnostic test technologies are necessary to eliminate malaria and stop the disease’s devastating impact on health and development.
PATH is pioneering the use of diagnostic tools for malaria elimination. We are working to develop new, more sensitive tests that will detect lower numbers of parasites in the bloodstream. PATH has historically focused work on Plasmodium falciparum, the most lethal and widespread malaria parasite. More recently, PATH has begun working on development of tools to detect and treat Plasmodium vivax, a form of malaria which occurs primarily in Asia, Latin America, and the horn of Africa.
Areas of focus
Advancing malaria elimination through disease surveillance
As the prevalence of malaria decreases there is a need for tests that can detect lower levels of parasites in patients or detect past exposure to infection. PATH is working to speed up access to effective, affordable, and highly sensitive diagnostic tools that detect malaria among people who show few or no symptoms of infection, especially in areas that are very close to malaria elimination. Learn more.
Supporting radical cure for P. vivax
P. vivax is the most difficult form of malaria to eliminate because it causes cycles of recurring illness and infectivity. All malaria parasites in the body must be killed to stop this cycle—this is known as radical cure. However, a class of drugs used to achieve radical cure of P. vivax can be harmful to people with a common hereditary condition known as glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) enzyme deficiency. To improve safe and effective treatment, PATH is working to accelerate development and introduction of point-of-care diagnostic tests to support best case management of patients with P. vivax infection. Learn more.
Driving development and adoption of malaria diagnostic tools
Malaria-related projects and programs at PATH form a core of organizational expertise and strong infrastructure to accelerate the development and adoption of new and improved malaria diagnostics. We apply our expertise in product development, procurement, quality assurance, and supply chain logistics to ensure malaria diagnostics make it to the places where they are needed most. Learn more. (PDF)
Gonzalo Domingo, Malaria Diagnostics Portfolio Leader