SD Biosensor & FIND announce collaboration to develop combination malaria-CRP rapid test

  • New rapid test could help bring down inappropriate use of antibiotics

Yeongtong-gu, Republic of Korea & Geneva, Switzerland – 16 March 2017 – SD Biosensor Inc. and FIND today announced a collaboration to develop a rapid diagnostic test (RDT) that can simultaneously detect malaria infection and C-reactive protein (CRP) in the blood. Such an RDT would facilitate better management of fever in low- and middle-income countries by offering health-care workers a single, low-cost test that can determine whether a febrile illness is caused by malaria parasites, bacterial infection or both.

Over the past decade, the increased use of malaria RDTs has brought down the inappropriate use of antimalarial therapies by linking treatment to confirmed diagnosis. However, studies are now revealing that these tests may be inadvertently driving the over-use of antibiotics. Without a simple point-of-care test to determine whether an infection is bacterial, health providers may empirically prescribe antibiotics to patients with fever who test negative for malaria. In studies conducted in Malawi, Tanzania and Laos, patients with negative malaria RDT results had markedly higher odds of being unnecessarily prescribed antibiotics.

Antibiotics are not appropriate for viral or parasitic infections. Incorrect use of antibiotics contributes to the spread of antimicrobial resistance, endangers patients’ health when serious illnesses are incorrectly treated and may increase health-care costs, which are often borne by patients out of pocket.

CRP is a biomarker associated with bacterial infection. Tests that measure levels of CRP in the blood are routinely used to guide treatment decisions in high-income countries. Recent data suggest that CRP may also be suitable for use in Southeast Asia, a low malaria transmission setting. A combination malaria and CRP test that could be used at the point of care would give clinicians in low- and middle-income countries the ability to use a similar evidence-based approach to care, especially in low-burden malaria settings, where CRP has been shown to effectively differentiate bacterial from non-bacterial infections.

“A CRP-malaria combination test has the potential to transform the way health-care providers in low-resource settings deal with febrile illness,” said Dr. Catharina Boehme, CEO of FIND. “Such a test would be particularly valuable in places such as Southeast Asia, where only 1% of nearly 144 million malaria RDTs are positive, and a high proportion of patients with fever are prescribed antibiotics in the absence of a confirmed diagnosis.”

SD Biosensor and FIND’s joint work will involve reagent development, prototype development and performance evaluation, with the intention of delivering a design-locked test in late 2017. The development of the test will be based on SD Biosensor’s existing technologies.

“By leveraging the experience and expertise we have in-house, paired with support from FIND, we are confident that we can develop a tool that is easy to use in low- and middle-income countries and which we can deliver at price points that are affordable for patients in those settings,” said H.K. Lee, President and CEO of SD Biosensor.

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About SD Biosensor Inc.
SD BIOSENSOR (http://en.sdbiosensor.com/xe/) is a company specialized in in-vitro diagnostics founded with the goal of contributing to improving the quality of life through fast and accurate diagnosis of disease.

Since its founding, SD BIOSENSOR, a global diagnostics company, has established a successful foothold in the field in order to provide blood glucose monitors, glycated hemoglobin analyzers and cholesterol analyzers. They have also taken a step forward in setting a new benchmark for in-vitro diagnostics with their own core technologies.

SD BIOSENSOR provides diagnostic products of excellent quality – fluorescence immunoassay products that can perform qualitative as well as quantitative analyses through methods using antigen and antibody responses.

About FIND
FIND, established in 2003 as a global nonprofit, is dedicated to accelerating the development, evaluation and use of high-quality, affordable diagnostic tests for poverty-related diseases, including tuberculosis, malaria, HIV/AIDS, sleeping sickness, hepatitis C, leishmaniasis, Chagas disease, Buruli ulcer, febrile illnesses and infectious diseases with outbreak potential, such as Ebola. Since 2003, FIND has partnered in the delivery of 20 new diagnostic tools, including 10 for tuberculosis, and has created an enabling environment for numerous others through the provision of specimen banks, reagent development and better market visibility.

FIND also supports better access to new diagnostics through implementation, quality assurance and lab strengthening work. FIND has over 200 partners globally, including research institutes and laboratories, health ministries and national disease control programmes, commercial partners, clinical trial sites, and bilateral and multilateral organizations, especially WHO.

For media inquiries, please contact Julie Archer at Julie.Archer@finddx.org or on +41 79 830 63 64.
For information about media and any other inquiries, please contact Sun Kim at sun.kim@sdbiosensor.com or on + 82 31 300 0438.