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

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.

Potential Commercial Applications: Competitive Advantages:
  • 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

Development Stage:
  • In vitro data available
  • In situ data available (on-site)


Michael Green (CDC)  ➽ more inventions...

Intellectual Property:
US Pat: 8,435,794 issued 2013-05-07
PCT Application No. PCT/US2008/082466 filed on 2008-11-05
US Application No. 12/741,434 filed on 2010-07-21

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

Licensing Contact:
Jeremiah Mitzelfelt,
Email: jeremiah.mitzelfelt@nih.gov
Phone: 301-443-8518

OTT Reference No: E-161-2013-0
Updated: Jan 20, 2014