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The Future of Nano-gold for Malaria Diagnostics

Contributed by: Dr. Trevor Keel – Consultant to the World Gold Council

Earlier this year I was pleased to contribute a blog post to Our Voice to introduce a recently agreed partnership between Global Good and the World Gold Council focusing on the development of improved malaria diagnostics. Global Good is a collaboration between Intellectual Ventures and Bill Gates committed to inventing, developing, and deploying commercially viable technologies that improve life in developing countries. Tomorrow (April 25) is World Malaria Day, and I’m pleased to report that the project is progressing well with field trials to go ahead as scheduled in Africa and Asia later this year.

As I described in my last blog post, Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDTs) for malaria rely on tiny nanoparticles of gold for their accuracy and reliability. In 2013 over 300 million RDTs were manufactured around the world for the disease, and it is expected that later this year the World Health Organization will report that even greater numbers were used in 2014.

RDTs are a key use for gold nanoparticles. However, there are many other potential applications in the pipeline. Researchers around the world are working to exploit the unique properties of these particles. To help illustrate just what gold nanoparticles are and where they are being used, Nature Publishing Group recently released a short animation with support from the World Gold Council.

Tiny treasure: The future of nano-gold

Lumps of gold moulded into rings, coins and ingots have been highly prized for millennia. But recently, scientists have realized that tiny pieces of this precious metal – far too small to be seen by the naked eye – could also become a valued commodity. In labs around the world, gold nanoparticles are being tested as components in technology and medicines. See how gold could be used to kill cancer cells, improve the efficiency of solar cells and catalyze chemical reactions.

Originally published by Nature Publishing Group with support from the World Gold Council © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Ltd.

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