Transasia Bio-Medicals Ltd. has recently introduced the ErbaQik range of rapids for Dengue and Malaria detection. These affordable test kits, have been validated and approved by reputed NABL laboratories and will be particularly valuable in India, which ranks third among 15 countries having the highest cases of malaria and deaths due to the disease, after Nigeria and Democratic Republic of Congo.
As per the records of the National vector borne disease control program in India in 2016 there were 1.29 lakh cases of dengue and 245 deaths. In recent years, the transmission of both Malaria and Dengue fever has increased predominantly in both the urban and semi-urban areas. New cases as well as recurring outbreaks have been recorded from Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Goa, Haryana, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Pondicherry and West Bengal.
On its part the Health Ministry is taking all efforts to curb the spread of these diseases by creating awareness campaigns on sanitization and propagating the need for early detection. However, currently there is no commercially available vaccine for these diseases.
While Zika virus is a growing concern for the world, dengue and malaria still rule the roost and are yet to see a marginal decrease. Malaria and Dengue diagnosis relies on clinical assessment and serological tests such as Rapid Diagnostic Tests and ELISAs. Rapids are preferred for initial screening because of their advantages such as ease of use, faster reporting of results (less than 30 minutes compared to 120 mins taken by ELISAs), limited resource allotment and affordability.
According to clinicians, detection of the disease early on and more importantly accurate detection is the need of the hour. Test kits are often marred by the concerns of high percentage of false results. Thus, the sensitivity and specificity (avoidance of false results) become crucial parameters. It is imperative for labs and hospitals to choose the detection kits that have been assessed and approved by reference reputed labs for their sensitivity and specificity.
All rapid test kits available in the market today have Gold nanoparticle that are used as conjugate in the test membrane strip. As the sample passes through the strip, the gold particle conjugate creates a coloured test and control band. However, there can be errors in interpretation since both test and controls bands can appear to be of the same colour. This increases the chances of a false result.
As a general rule, the colour of the gold nanoparticle solution changes with the change in the size of the particle, ranging from red to purple black with the increasing particle size.
The ErbaQik range of rapids for dengue and malaria use two different sizes of gold particles to generate two visually distinct coloured bands for test (purple black) and control (red). Using a different size of the gold nanoparticle called as ‘Black Gold’ particle gives ErbaQik rapids a unique dual colour advantage making them the only bi-colour detection immuno-chromatographic device.
Moreover, the larger size of the Black Gold particle provides a larger surface area for the reaction, thereby enhancing the sensitivity and the specificity of the test and reducing the incidence of false results.
The kits have been found to have unmatched specificity (100%) and sensitivity (>92%) for all parameters of dengue and malaria, which makes it the most reliable in India today.