GE and Intellectual Ventures’ Global Good Fund have signed a licensing agreement with Access Bio, a diagnostics technology company, to develop and market methods to rapidly identify asymptomatic cases of malaria and help eliminate the disease in low-resource regions.
The agreement covers new diagnostic technologies for malaria detection developed by scientists and engineers at GE’s Global Research Center and at Global Good. These tests include an assay that identifies key malaria proteins as well as a Plasmodium lactate dehydrogenase rapid diagnostic test. The organizations will also now collaborate to develop serology assays for Plasmodium antibodies, which could provide information on a population’s past malaria exposure. The agreement comes as the World Health Organization sets out to implement its Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016–2030, a framework that includes the goal of eliminating malaria in at least 35 countries by 2030.
“The combination of [rapid diagnostic tests] and serology tests will fill an important gap in the tool set for the eradication of malaria,” said Joseph Suriano, PhD, technical discipline leader at GE Global Research and the leader of the company’s involvement in the program. “By being able to see if a population has been recently exposed to the malaria parasite with serology tests, we can then efficiently target the use of more rapid, highly sensitive tests and other anti-malarial interventions to act before outbreaks occur.”