Background: Malaria is a major public health threat in tropical and subtropical countries. Rapid diagnostic in resource-limited settings remains a major obstacle to eliminate malaria, especially with the emergence of Plasmodium knowlesi. The present study aims to develop a method for rapid diagnosis of human malaria using loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) coupled with lateral flow (LF). To simplify the sample preparation process, a paper-based nucleic acid extraction method was utilized in this study. The entire procedure from sample preparation to diagnosis takes approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes to complete, LAMP-LF assay exhibited high sensitivity, as the detection limit was 5 parasite/uL for all five Plasmodium species. Clinical sensitivity was 94.73% using 57 malaria samples and specificity was 100% using 42 healthy samples. Combined with a simple nucleic acid extraction step, this optimized LAMP-LF method can be potentially developed as point-of-care diagnostic tool in future.
Dr. Yee Ling Lau is at present the Head of the Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine at University of Malaya (UM). Her scientific career has been dedicated to the study of protozoan parasites, including Plasmodium knowlesi and Toxoplasma gondii, the causative agents of malaria and toxoplasmosis, respectively. These parasitic diseases exact enormous social and economic burdens. Her research interest mainly focuses on using molecular methods for the detection and characterization of these parasites infecting humans and animals. She has collaborated with local and international researchers, leading to publication of more than 180 ISI journals, with total citations index of 2598 and H-index of 27. Since 2009, 13 Masters and 17 PhDs have completed their studies with success under her guidance. Currently, they are 4 Masters and 8 PhDs under her supervision. Currently, she is the editor-in-chief for the Journal of Health and Translational Medicine (JUMMEC) for University of Malaya, editor of Asia Pacific Journal of Molecular Biology & Biotechnology and associate editor of BMC Infectious Diseases. She has been an active member of the Malaysian Society of Parasitology and Tropical Medicine (MSPTM). She was a council member of the MSPTM in year 2018-2019. She is also active in the Malaysian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (MSBMB). She was the Honorary Secretary of the MSBMB in 2017-2019 and the current President. She has been awarded University of Malaya Excellent Service Award three times in 2011, 2013 and 2015. She was awarded MSPTM Nadchadtram Medal in 2014. She has also been awarded a few times for her innovation in research including the Grand Prize in National Exclusive Innovation Challenge Award 2018.