Infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, HIV or malaria are the main causes of high mortality rates in the so-called developing countries. One of the major reasons is the lack of simple, fast and cheap diagnostic tests.
To date, the diagnosis of malaria has been made by rapid tests and microscopic analysis, for which blood samples are required. According to a study, microneedle patches could help in this regard! The big advantage is that in this way pain and risk of infection are reduced to a minimum. And no medically trained personnel are needed.
Unpleasant and infectious
The prick in the finger is excruciating for some patients, again and again it makes people collapse. At the same time there is the risk of contracting an infection. This new diagnostic method bypasses all this because the microneedles do not reach the nerve and vessel structures in the deeper layers of the dermis.
This enables painless diagnostics that do not require blood; the microneedle patch is simply applied to the patient’s arm. Its task is to detect the protein PfHRP2 (Plasmodium falciparum histidine-rich protein 2). PfHRP2 is a biomarker for malaria infection
Like a simple band-aid
Basically, this test is as simple as applying a band-aid.
The test has 16 microneedles on one side and an antibody test strip on the other side. As soon as the antibodies detect protein biomarkers for malaria, they react by showing 2 red strips on the surface of the patch. If the test result is negative, only one red stripe will be visible. After use, the test is disposed of like a normal bandage.
A painless and fast method
These microneedle tests would be virtually painless and easy to use for patients, and in addition they would provide the results within 20 minutes! No medical experience or other equipment is required.
Although this small patch is not yet available on the market, it is already a promising new tool for malaria testing. Furthermore, it may also help to detect other diseases.
What has the micropatch got to do with LTS?
We are also developing microneedle patches. So far not for diagnoses, but for various therapies, but what is not, can still be… Get more information here !
Source: Jiang X. and Lillehoj P. B. (2020). Microneedle-based skin patch for blood-free rapid diagnostic testing. Microsystems & Nanoengineering. (2020)6:96
Image Source: LTS Lohmann Therapie-Systeme AG