Ground breaking new saliva diagnostic test to help eliminate malaria

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02 January 2019: ERADA Technology Alliance Ltd (ERADA), pioneers of innovative, rapid diagnostic solutions for early detection of infectious diseases, have announced the imminent launch of a world first diagnostic saliva test for malaria.

The saliva-based diagnostic tool, to be marketed by ERADA as a Saliva-based Malaria Asymptomatic and Asexual Rapid Test (SMAART) for subclinical infection, is set to transform malaria detection worldwide in the fight against one of the globe’s most deadly diseases. Malaria, globally kills an estimated 435,000 each year, mostly children under the age of five, mainly in Sub-Saharan Africa. 1

The SMAART detection tool is the invention of leading, U.S based, researchers in the field of malaria diagnostics whose study is published worldwide today, January 2 in the international journal, Science Translational Medicine

ERADA’s innovative solution is easy- to-use, as it includes a simple device for standardized collection of saliva that can be implemented in the community by health care professionals, teachers and parents; contrasting with invasive blood tests, which must be administered by trained clinicians. Other drawbacks to blood tests include cultural ‘blood taboos’ existing in many countries whilst, furthermore, skin-prick tests are often stressful for children and parents.

Existing tests using blood may be invariably less reliable because subclinical infections with malaria-carrying parasites can be missed, leading some patients to come down with the disease, without knowing they have already been infected. ERADA’s

SMAART-1, easy-to-use saliva test, leads to early detection, treatment and prevention of the disease as well as reducing further transmission of malaria.

ERADA’s SMAART saliva test detects a unique biomarker from female parasites circulating in an infected human who is asymptomatic, but is carrying the parasite and likely to come down with malaria within a week. Early, subclinical detection of malaria is crucial to malaria eradication because individuals who carry the parasite without exhibiting symptoms, known as carriers, are the reservoir that leads to infection of mosquitoes and transmission of the disease. Detecting the presence of the parasite before symptoms appear can save lives because malaria visible disease only erupts a couple of days after the mosquito bite.

The SMAART detection tool works by detecting a novel biomarker for Plasmodium falciparum parasites. In some areas of the world, the parasites have acquired a mutation and are therefore no longer detected by current blood-based tests. But ERADA’s saliva test detects an essential protein the parasite needs for survival, which should avoid the problem of influence from the mutation and keep the test effective long-term.

“As someone who has suffered from malaria, I know first-hand that if the parasite had been detected early, I could have been treated and cured before the symptoms of the disease made me unwell,” Dr Benji Pretorius, ERADA’s founder and Managing Director says.”

Dr Pretorius continues, “As a practicing clinician myself and following my personal experience of this debilitating disease, I was spurred on to work with my colleague Dr Richard Schmidt in our small community, Musina, in South Africa, together with a global team of scientists.” Dr Pretorius continues, “Our vision is to bring to market ERADA’s SMAART diagnostic tool as quickly as possible in the belief that it will go on to save literally millions of lives in the future.”

The World Health Organization’s recently published World Malaria Report 2018 reinforces the message that the world is currently behind 2020 milestones of the WHO Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016-2030. 1 Reduction in malaria cases has stalled and of particular concern is the report’s finding that, in 2017, there were an estimated 3.5 million more cases of malaria in the 10 highest burden African countries. 1,3

“The introduction of SMAART is going to play a major part in achieving effective diagnostic testing and surveillance; as well as prevention and treatment of this disease, and therefore will be a major catalyst in meeting the WHO’s 2030 target to reduce malaria incidence and mortality by 90% ,” Dr Pretorius says. 2

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Research and development of this new saliva test was assisted with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2014. This was augmented by the technical expertise of Maryland Innovation Initiative and the Dinglasan Malaria laboratory. This world-first patented technology is licensed exclusively to ERADA Technology Alliance Ltd by Johns Hopkins University and ERADA will bring this innovative diagnostic tool to market in partnership with the Dinglasan Malaria Laboratory based at the University of Florida, U.S; Oasis Diagnostics® Corporation, a U.S based oral diagnostic testing company; Fusion Antibodies in the UK and Synergyworx International Holdings, an international investee company with strong humanitarian health interests in Africa.

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References

1. World malaria report. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2018: Available at https://www.who.int/malaria/publications/world-malaria-report-2018/en/

2. Global Technical Strategy for Malaria, 2016-2030. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2015: Available at https://www.who.int/malaria/publications/atoz/9789241564991/en/

3. https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/19-11-2018-who-and-partners-launch-new-country-led-response-to-put-stalled-malaria-control-efforts-back-on-track

About ERADA Technology Alliance Ltd (ERADA)

ERADA Technology Alliance Ltd (ERADA), was founded by Dr Benji Pretorius and Dr Richard Schmidt, located in Musina, South Africa, and pioneers of innovative, rapid diagnostic solutions for early detection of infectious diseases, including malaria. Dr Pretorius, the company’s Managing Director, himself an experienced medical practitioner, is an expert in the field of malaria management and has a long track record of working in the pharmaceutical, health, wellness and fitness industry. ERADA collaborates with the following partners:

Dinglasan Malaria Laboratory was established in 2009 as part of the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute prior to its transfer to the University of Florida’s Emerging Pathogens Institute in 2016. The lab leverages multi-omics approaches to discover, validate and eventually develop enabling technologies focused on malaria elimination and eradication.

Oasis Diagnostics® Corporation was founded in 2002 to address a growing need for non-invasive saliva based technology for rapid testing, sample collection, and molecular diagnostics [DNA, RNA and proteins] in the Life Sciences and Diagnostics areas. The Company is dedicated to meeting the need for more effective screening tools, which may be applied to the early detection of diseases and medical disorders, utilizing non-invasive test specimens, particularly oral fluids (saliva).
Fusion Antibodies is a Contract Research Organisation (CRO) established in 2001 and located in Northern Ireland, UK. Its mission is to enable biopharmaceutical and diagnostic companies to develop innovative products in a timely and cost-effective manner for the benefit of the global healthcare industry.

Synergyworx International Holdings offer funding to African Countries through the implementation process provided by way of the Synergyworx International Holdings, Project Financial Development Management (PFDM) Consultancy mechanism.

Malaria Facts and Figures

Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. It is preventable and curable

In 2017, there were an estimated 219 million cases of malaria in 90 countries

Malaria deaths reached 435 000 in 2017.

The WHO African Region carries a disproportionately high share of the global malaria burden. In 2017, the region was home to 92% of malaria cases and 93% of malaria deaths

Children aged under 5 years are the most vulnerable group affected by malaria. In 2017, they accounted for 61% (266 000) of all malaria deaths worldwide.

https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/malaria

The economic impact of malaria is estimated to cost Africa $12 billion every year. This figure factors in costs of health care, absenteeism, days lost in education, decreased productivity and loss of investment and tourism https://www.malariafreefuture.org/malaria

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