Smelly Biomarkers Accurately Predict Malaria Infections

With close to 50% of the world’s population living in areas endemic to malaria and almost half a million malaria deaths per year, identifying asymptomatic carriers of this parasitic infection is a critical factor for lowering disease transmission rates. However, standard tests often miss identifying carriers, especially when parasitemias are low. Moreover, while DNA tests for identifying the malaria parasite usually show infection, the test is not very rapid and often difficult to utilize in many parts of the world due to impoverished conditions and lack of vital infrastructure.

Now, an international team of researchers is working toward a way to identify malaria patients, including infected individuals who show no malaria symptoms. The researchers wanted to see if they could identify changes in human odors associated with malaria infection that might be useful for diagnosing infected individuals. Findings from the new study were published recently in the Proceedings ...