According to reports, the University of Lagos (UNILAG) said it has validated a new method of diagnosing malaria using urine.
The research was carried out by the Department of Medical Microbiology and Parasitology of the university in collaboration with a group of researchers from Baltimore, United States.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Director of Research and Innovation of the institution, Wellington Oyibo, last Thursday, said the urine malaria test was the “first” of its kind. Oyibo said the urine malaria test is the first clinical and global trial to be done in the world.
He said the test had been registered by both the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration Control (NAFDAC) and the US Food and Drug Administration.
He noted that the development was remarkable and groundbreaking, considering the fact that one could carry out malaria test without taking blood. He appealed to the federal government to create easy access for people to test for malaria through the new approach. This, he said, is possible by establishing testing centres in various parts of the country.
“This achievement shows that UNILAG is becoming a clinical trial site for diagnosis. In the past, trial tests were conducted in India and Bangladesh or somewhere in Asia for Nigerians. But now, we are conducting tests for Nigerian patients and we are providing data and that is quite remarkable,” he said.
According to him, the institution has provided a platform and an enabling environment for researchers that have been providing solutions to life challenges. The professor of medical parasitology explained that he discovered that malaria was a major health challenge in the country.
“One of the major challenges in managing the menace has to do with case management, as there are assumptions that all fevers are malaria. This leads to excessive diagnosis and over treatment,” he said. He recalled that the policy that malaria test should be done before treatment was approved since 2010.
“In spite of this policy, people are still not doing tests; so, one way by which we can encourage diagnosis is by introducing tests that will not require blood from patients. Under the new test formula, medicine retailers will be able to carry out diagnosis before dispensing drugs.
“If we keep selling drugs for a disease that does not exist, it will amount to waste of resources and patients will be suffering,” Oyibo said. He further said the new research breakthrough would improve malaria diagnosis and treatment.