Technology Bundle ID: TAB-2732

A Simple Colorimetric Assay for Anti-malarial Drugs Quality Assurance and Rapid, On-site Counterfeit Detection

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Primary Inventors: 
Michael Green (CDC)
Development Stage: 
Pre-Clinical (in vitro)
Development Status: 
  • In vitro data available
  • In situ data available (on-site)
Institute or Center: 

This CDC assay aims to lessen the anti-malarial drug counterfeiting epidemic by testing for the artemisinin-type drugs (the active compound), through the use of a simple, inexpensive colorimetric test. Poor quality and counterfeit drugs pose an immediate threat to public health and undermine malaria control efforts, resulting in resistant-parasites and invalidates effective compounds, i.e. the artemisinins.

In response to this threat, CDC researchers have developed a simple, inexpensive, field-adapted colorimetric test to determine artemesin-derivative authenticity in anti-malarial tablets. This assay exploits a chemical reaction in which the active element in question readily reacts under mild conditions with diazonium salts producing a visually distinct green-colored product. The resultant product delineates a positive correlation between color intensity and the drug's concentration of active-compound; counterfeit drugs will have no or little change in color.

  • Quality assurance, fraud prevention for anti-malarials
  • Public health and humanitarian concerns
  • Artesunate, artemisinin sales and distributions
  • Potentially life-saving technology in developing nations and malaria affected regions
  • Simple assay with an unaided-eye readout
  • Inexpensive and field-adapted for use in low-resource environments


PCT Application PCT/US2008/082466
Filed on 2008-11-05
US Application 61/985,399
Filed on 2007-11-05
US Pat 8,435,794

Issued 2013-05-07


Green MD, et al.
PMID 11108540
Green MD, et al.
PMID 11737833


Jan 20, 2014

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