Malaria test from urine 78% okay in clinical trials

MalariaAhead of the World Malaria Day holding April 25, the results of clinical trials on the first ever non-blood rapid test made by a Nigerian, Dr. Eddy Agbo using only a few drops of urine, Urine Malaria Test (UMT), have showed that it is 78 per cent efficacious as a simple point of care diagnostic tool for malaria.

Principal Investigator and Director, ANDI Centre of Excellence for Malaria Diagnosis, College of Medicine, University of Lagos (CMUL), Prof. Wellington Oyibo, who presented the outcome yesterday at the Market Introduction/Launch of the Fyodor Urine Malaria Test (UMT) at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), said the UMT compared favourably with other rapid blood malaria tests and conventional microscopic test.

“It compares competitively with blood-based malaria test. It can tell you effectively that you don’t have malaria. The sensitivity of UMT was 78 per cent,” he said.

Oyibo, who is also a consultant malariologist with the World Health Organisation (WHO), added: “You do not have a perfect test. The result means that 85 per cent of the malaria parasite could be detected. Microscopy has a lot of issues because you have to be properly trained but a number of microscopists did not receive training. In 90 per cent of cases, you are likely to have a positive test.

“Malaria is not important condition to fever diseases in Lagos. It is just between four and 36 per cent of those with fever that have malaria.”

The WHO consultant said most fevers are more likely to be caused by cancers and viral infections.He noted that the result of the clinical studies conducted in general hospitals; primary health care (PHC) centres mostly in Ikorodu area of Lagos had been published in Malaria Journal and was due for publication in New England Journal of Medicine.

UMT was developed by Agbo, who is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Fyodor Biotechnologies and is being marketed in Nigeria in partnership with Geneith Pharmaceuticals.

The innovation tells in 25 minutes or less if a fever is due to malaria or not, using only a few drops of urine. Oyibo said over 2000 participants enrolled and there were three study groups, naming the pivotal clinical trial partners to include the Federal Ministry of Health/National Malaria Elimination Programme, Abuja, The ANDI/WHO Centre of Excellence for Malaria Diagnosis at the College of Medicine University of Lagos, Johns Hopkins University USA, Duke University USA, Lagos State Government/Ministry of Health, and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

The inventor, Agbo, said: “UMT is an innovation of global proportion, and major national pride that will finally eliminate the guesswork too often used in managing patients who present with fever. It will enable healthcare providers in all settings to rapidly confirm if a fever is due to malaria or not, to guide appropriate patient management.”

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