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Emergence of resistant Plasmodium species makes drug efficacy testing a crucial part of malaria control. Here we describe a novel assay for sensitive, fast and simple drug screening via the magneto-optical detection of hemozoin, a natural biomarker formed during the hemoglobin metabolism of Plasmodium species. By quantifying hemozoin production over the intraerythrocytic cycle, we reveal that hemozoin formation is already initiated by ~ 6-12 h old ring-stage parasites. We demonstrate that the new assay is capable of drug efficacy testing with incubation times as short as 6-10 h, using synchronized P. falciparum 3D7 cultures incubated with chloroquine, piperaquine and dihydroartemisinin. The determined 50% inhibitory concentrations agree well with values established by standard assays requiring significantly longer testing time. Accordingly, we conclude that magneto-optical hemozoin detection provides a practical approach for the quick assessment of drug effect with short incubation times, which may also facilitate stage-specific assessment of drug inhibitory effects.


Petra Molnár, Ágnes Orbán, Richard Izrael, Réka Babai, Lívia Marton, Ádám Butykai, Stephan Karl, Beáta G Vértessy, István Kézsmárki. Rapid and quantitative antimalarial drug efficacy testing via the magneto-optical detection of hemozoin. Scientific reports. 2020 Aug 20;10(1):14025

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PMID: 32820190

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