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A new diagnostic tool using microneedles eliminates the need for a fingerprick, and researchers develop a more efficient gene-drive system that overcomes the challenge of genetic resistance.
The rapid diagnostic test (RDT) is the current gold-standard for quickly diagnosing malaria in the field. Yet, the need to prick the patient’s finger to collect blood poses a risk of infection and can be undesirable. A new diagnostic tool aims to eliminate the fingerprick by using a microneedle patch which can be adhered onto the patient’s arm. It’s been shown to detect Plasmodium falciparum histidine-rich protein 2 (PfHRP2), a biomarker for malaria infection, at concentrations as low as 8 ng/mL. This simple, minimally-invasive, microneedle patch is a promising new tool for point-of-care testing for malaria and could also be applied to detect other diseases.
Existing gene-drive strategies have been challenged by the development of genetic resistance, but the new Reckh gene-drive system overcomes this and demonstrates efficient population modification with ≥95% of mosquitoes carrying the drive within 5-11 generations.
Image Credits: CDC/ Dr. Mae Melvin 
Scientific Advisor: Katharine Collins, Radboud University Medical Centre