Praise New Malaria Prevention Method


Target: Physicist Dmitri O. Lapotko of Rice University

Goal: Thank Rice University researchers for their new screening method that improves access to public health

Rice University researchers have designed a new test for malaria that has the potential to revolutionize prevention of the disease. Invented by physicist Dmitri O. Lapotko, who worked with laser weapons in his native Belarus, the test is meant to function in areas with harsher climates and low-infrastructure settings. Curret rapid tests for malaria require the drawing of blood from a participant, who must be pricked in the finger. The whole process can take up to 15 minutes, costs one US dollar, and can spoil in hot climates.

Working much less invasively, the new test uses a laser pulse to detect malaria in infected red blood cells. Able to screen one person every twenty seconds at less than fifty cents each, the new test functions via a fiber-optic probe applied to the person’s finger or nose. The test runs on a device powered by a car battery and is resistant enough to withstand use in dusty villages, according to an article in the New York Times. Most importantly, the new method has been found to be safe to use on healthy humans, and it is ultra-sensitive: in test runs, it detected one infected blood cell in one million with no false positives.

By signing the petition below, you can thank Rice University researchers for their life-saving innovation. As prevention is the best way to eliminate disease, their ingenuity marks a major step toward improving global health. With its more rugged design, the test also serves to combat serious health disparities that stem from lack of access to health technologies in remote places. Applaud them for leading the way in creating conditions in which all people can be healthy.


Dear Dr. Lapotko,

I want to thank you for your new inventive screening method for malaria. Your efforts are revolutionizing global disease prevention, and you have succeeded in creating nothing less than a life-saving innovation.

By designing a more rugged test able to function in harsher climates and low-infrastructure settings, you are helping to eliminate the serious health disparities arising from lack of access in developing nations to health technologies. Your minimally invasive design also tackles a barrier to delivery of the standard malaria test, which requires drawing blood via pricking participants’ fingers.

I want to express my gratitude to you for streamlining the screening process for this deadly disease and also making it more affordable. You have a done a great service to at-risk communities around the world, and I hope your leadership inspires many innovations to come.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: The Gates Foundation via Flickr

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