100020: Quantitative Diagnostic Test for Malaria


Malaria, a devastating disease caused by parasites, results in 350–500 million infections and approximately 1 million deaths per year, primarily in Africa. The disease affects mainly children under the age of 5 years who have not yet established immunity against the parasite. With symptoms resembling influenza or cold, mild malaria infection can have a high rate of survival, but a subset of infections progress to a severe form where the patient lapses into coma or experiences organ failure. Although tests can be conducted to detect the presence of malarial parasites, there is a need for a simple, inexpensive test that more clearly associates malaria with specific symptoms and predicts which patients will progress to the severe form of the disease.

Michigan State University’s invention involves the development of a quantitative rapid diagnostic "dipstick" test to predict the severity of malarial infection and to determine if malaria is or is not the cause of cerebral coma. The test would increase availability of testing and diagnosis in rural areas with little infrastructure and potentially allow for more appropriate and effective treatment. The test is based on a quantitative measure of histidine rich protein (HRP-2), which is expressed by the parasites that cause malaria.


* Distinguishes between severities of malarial infection: Can predict severity of malarial infection and rule in or out malaria as a cause of cerebral coma, potentially allowing for more appropriate and effective treatment.

* Lower cost and simpler diagnostic tool: A dipstick test would be lower in cost and require a lower level of training and technology, enabling it to be used in rural areas with little infrastructure.

* High-throughput capacity: The ability to test a large number of people would allow more access to health care.

* Potential to reduce unneeded treatments: Expensive malarial treatments could potentially be reduced or avoided.

* Societal value: Any effort to decrease deaths incurred due to malaria (or otherwise improve the quality of related care) is of significant societal value.


A simple, inexpensive test would be useful for human health care providers, governmental agencies, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that set up and run health programs in developing countries.

IP Protection Status

Patent pending


Patent Information:


For Information, Contact:

Anne DiSante
Associate Director
Michigan State University - Test