Project Details

Early Career

Status: Funded - Open

Rapid diagnostic tests for the identification of severe malaria (RDTSM)

Ross Boyce, M.D., M.Sc.


BACKGROUND: Severe malaria is one of the most common causes of death among children in Sub-Saharan Africa. Mortality among children with severe malaria who receive care at referral centers ranges from 10-20%, and is likely even higher among children presenting to health facilities in rural areas.

GAP: The diagnosis and treatment of severe malaria at peripheral health facilities is challenging due to requirements for laboratory infrastructure, clinical expertise, and acute care services. There is an urgent need for simple, affordable diagnostic tools that can be implemented in resource-limited settings by providers of varying skillsets for the identification of severe malaria.

HYPOTHESIS: We hypothesize that patients with “three-band positive” (both HRP-2 and pLDH) RDTs will have significantly higher probability of severe malaria compared to those with two-band positive RDTs.

METHODS: The primary aim of this observational cohort study is to explore the accuracy of three-band RDTs as a marker of severe malaria by determining the test characteristics of the SD Bioline FK60 for the diagnosis of severe malaria compared to laboratory-based, WHO-defined markers of disease severity among patients with malaria.

RESULTS: Pilot results, which form the basis of this study, were presented at the 2014 American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene Annual Conference, in New Orleans, LA [Abstract 2906].

IMPACT: The development of a low-cost, scalable marker of severe malaria has the potential to significantly reduce childhood mortality in rural areas by alerting clinicians to patients at high risk of developing severe malaria, and prompting expedited management and/or referral.

Supervising Institution:
University of North Carolina

Joshua Metlay

Project Location:
North Carolina, Massachusetts

Award Amount: