To detect malaria among patients with low parasitic load, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) has introduced two new tests – Plasmodium vivax (LAMP) and Plasmodium falciparum (LAMP). Doctors claim that PGIMER is one of the few institutes across India where these tests are being done.
The molecular tests were recently introduced in the medical parasitology department of the institute. As per the medical experts, these tests have several advantages over most commonly used malaria diagnostic tests (also called as conventional tests), including microscopy and antigen-detecting rapid tests.
The conventional tests couldn’t reliably detect low-density infections, said an expert.
“The new tests are highly sensitive and can detect malaria even when the parasite load is very less (can detect even if single parasite is present). The conventional tests usually do not detect parasitic count so low,” said Dr Kalil Gupta of medical parasitology department, PGIMER.
As per experts, less number of parasitic counts does not cause malaria but there is a high risk that person will develop the disease and therefore he/she should be treated for it.
“Unlike conventional methods, the new tests do not need expensive equipment and can be done using the resources already available with us,” he added.
Sharing another advantage, the doctor said that the new tests were so simple that they could be conducted at primary health centres. “The tests are simple. We mix blood sample with reagent in a waterbath and leave it in incubation for 90 minutes. The result can be seen with the naked eye, that is, if the colour changes, it means positive.”
He said, “I am not aware if any other institute is using these tests to detect malaria among people. PGIMER is one of the very few institutes across India where the tests are being done.” The cost of the test for general ward patients is Rs 600 and for private ward patients, the fee is `1,200.
Dr Rakesh Sehgal , head, medical parasitogy department, said, “As per our knowledge, these tests are being done only at the PGIMER.”