17 December 2009

A lab on a chip? No, the lab is in chewing gum!

A student from the USA invented chewing gum to diagnose malariaCopper news
An American student received a grant to develop chewing gum for the diagnosis of malaria, according to Discovery News (Chew on This: New Gum Could Detect Malaria).

To support the project of Andrew Fung from the University of California (University of California) The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has allocated 100 thousand US dollars.

The development of chewing gum, which the author of the idea plans to call "Maliva" (from the English words "malaria" – malaria and "saliva" – saliva), became possible thanks to the discovery of scientists who found three proteins specific to the causative agent of this infection in the saliva of malaria patients.

In the composition of chewing gum, Fang plans to include magnetized nanoparticles, at the end of each of which antibodies are fixed. When chewing, the antibodies will bind to the malarial plasmodium proteins contained in saliva.

A few minutes after consumption, the gum should be placed on an indicator strip of paper. Under the influence of a magnetic field, nanoparticles with proteins of malaria pathogens will be placed on paper in the form of stripes of a certain color.

According to the developer, with the help of this gum, it will be possible to determine not only the presence of infectious agents, but also their type. Fang noted that he plans to make a working prototype of chewing gum in 2010.

The inventor hopes that "Maliva" will be useful for detecting malaria in the field and in those regions where there are no laboratories for traditional diagnosis of the disease by blood tests.

According to the World Health Organization, about 250 million cases of malaria infection are registered annually in the world. The annual number of victims of the infection is about a million people, most of whom are children living in Central and Southern Africa.

Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru17.12.2009

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