Unitaid report analyses the state of malaria testing technologies to identify opportunities and improve equitable access

By UnitAid

Unitaid report analyses the state of malaria testing technologies to identify opportunities and improve equitable access

World Mosquito Day, marks the day in 1897 when researchers discovered that female Anopheles mosquitoes transmit malaria to humans. This year, with progress against malaria stalled and global targets to reduce infections falling short, Unitaid has published a new report analyzing the landscape of diagnostic tools to identify opportunities and accelerate access to tests and improve malaria case management.

More than 4 billion people in 85 countries live in areas where malaria is prevalent. Being able to diagnose the infection early is essential to treating malaria quickly. It is also critical to ensure that patients with fevers not caused by malaria are not given malaria drugs, a common mistake that, over time, causes medicines to become less effective.

The landscape report looks at the market conditions and technology pipeline for malaria tests to determine opportunities for greater impact as well as gaps that, with swift and adequate action, can be addressed to improve malaria control efforts.

As the threat of resistance and biological threats expands, more diagnostic options are needed to support countries to deploy effective resistance management strategies. Notably, the report calls out the urgent need for high-quality tests for diagnosing malaria in settings where gene deletions in the malaria parasite are making detection more complex.

The report also assesses the technology pipeline, examining innovative and promising products in all stages of development, and evaluating needs to ensure they can succeed and reach those who need them. Research and development into new technologies and rapid tests that are effective in detecting evolving strains of malaria are urgently needed.

Strong collective action is key to promoting sustainable access to malaria diagnostics. A series of market-based and community-led interventions can help strengthen access to the right technologies for diagnosing malaria but successful execution of these efforts will require the participation and buy-in from stakeholders across global health, working in close collaboration with the private sector and affected communities.