Rose Charities in rural Uganda has an expanding early malaria school diagnosis and treatment program which is proving extremely successful. However it utilizes a (relatively) expensive test to make the original diagnosis which can be a limiting factor.
Research has recently shown that children with malaria have a different breath smell and this could be the way to a new, cheap and simple malaria test for the near future.
The current tests are the traditional microscope examination of blood films or the more sophisticated and expensive immunofluoresent tests.
But blood-smear microscopy, is difficult to implement in resource-poor settings, and the immunofluoresent rapid diagnostic testing has developed some limitations in that some forms of the malaria parasite are lacking the histidine rich protein II (HRP II) antigen altogether, which make them “invisible” to current HRP II-based diagnostic testing.
A cheap breath diagnostic test could bypass the need for any of the above tests and universally revolutionize malaria diagnosis both for the Rose programs and everywhere.