Have you been to Papua New Guinea? MAGPIX® has.October 11th, 2016 / Hilary Graham
The first commercially available MAGPIX instrument went to Peter Zimmerman’s field research site to fight malaria
Peter Zimmerman, PhD, Professor of International Health, Biology and Genetics, was the first customer to receive the newly launched MAGPIX® instrument in 2010. While his lab is at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) in Cleveland, Ohio, the instrument was installed at Zimmerman’s field research site in Papua New Guinea.
Photograph used with permission from Peter Zimmerman.
He is a longtime user of Luminex® Technology, having developed a number of multiplex assays to decipher the impact of microbial genetic polymorphisms on the infection and pathogenesis of malaria and HIV. Zimmerman compares developing multiplex assays for research applications to building with LEGOS® – if you combine the right pieces on the platform, it reliably works. Zimmerman still uses his 2006 Luminex-based assay for clinical research applications to diagnose malaria and detect single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated drug resistance today.
Before receiving the MAGPIX instrument he was using a Luminex® 200™ system, but shipping sheath fluid to Papua New Guinea – even when concentrated to 20x – is an expensive proposition. The reduced fluid consumption combined with the increased stability of the CCD imager optics versus lasers, made the MAGPIX the obvious choice for field use. This first MAGPIX ever sold is currently in Zimmerman’s CWRU laboratory in Cleveland and stills sees constant use.
Zimmerman is currently working to elucidate how Plasmodium vivax, the protozoan parasite that is the most frequent cause of malaria, is infecting a historically resistant population of people in Madagascar. Duffy blood group negativity (Duffy (-)) was thought to provide resistance to P. vivax malaria infection, but this is no longer the case. With the support of an NIAID grant, Zimmerman’s group is working to uncover the newly evolved invasion mechanism of P. vivax and to define the current molecular susceptibility profile of Duffy (-) individuals. For this research project, he will be using a Bio-Plex 200, provided to his collaboration with the Madagascar National Malaria Control Program through the President’s Malaria Initiative.
While there is a push to move malaria detection outside of the laboratory for clinical diagnosis, there is also the need to develop novel molecular tests to detect reservoirs of submicroscopic infections if malaria is to be eliminated. Researchers are presently working on techniques to amplify a nucleic acid signal – such as pooling mosquitos – because new strategies that improve detection efficiency when testing entire populations of mosquitos are essential for success.
Luminex supports life science research with its Research Use Only (RUO) product portfolio. Not for use in diagnostic procedures.