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Forsite Diagnostics awarded grant to develop malaria test
A YORK disease detection specialist has been awarded a £455,000 grant to develop the first diagnostic test of its kind for malaria.
Forsite Diagnostics was yesterday awarded the funding from the European Commission’s Framework Programme 7 as part of a three-year project, which started earlier this month.
Based at the Sand Hutton Innovation Campus, the company will be one of three collaborating partners working with Dr Henk Schallig, of the Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam, to develop a new rapid molecular diagnostic test for malaria, a deadly disease which in 2010 alone killed an estimated 660,000 people.
The new test will be used directly on fresh blood samples to confirm the presence of Plasmodium parasites, the infectious agent that causes malaria.
There are currently no rapid molecular tests for the Plasmodium parasite on the market.
The test, which will produce results in as little as 60 minutes, is being designed to screen populations in areas specifically where malaria is being targeted for eradication.
Dr Hand said: “The World Health Organization recommends that all cases of suspected malaria should be confirmed using parasite-based diagnostic testing.
“This PCR-based test can be used directly on blood samples, allowing for results to be rapidly available to clinicians.
“The test is also able to differentiate The test uses the technique known as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to amplify the DNA from the Plasmodium parasite to such an extent that its presence can be detected on an easyto- use immunoassay strip.
Dr Chris Hand, chairman of Forsite, and chief executive of its parent company Abingdon Health, said: “Malaria currently kills hundreds of thousands of patients annually and there is an urgent need for prompt diagnosis and treatment.
“We are delighted to receive a grant from the European Commission, which allows us to help develop a potentially significant diagnostic test for malaria.”
between various species of the Plasmodium parasite, which is essential for tailoring the correct treatment to each individual to improve patient outcomes.”
Forsite Diagnostics, which is a portfolio company of Abingdon Health, was originally a spin-out of Fera, the Food and Environmental Research Agency, which is also based at Sand Hutton and continues to be a shareholder in the enterprise.
The company is a diagnostic device manufacturer with a customer base which includes European regulatory authorities, multi-national diagnostic and food companies.
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