Technology ID

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

Lead Inventor
Green, Michael (CDC)
Software / Apps
Research Materials
Occupational Safety and Health
Non-Medical Devices
Medical Devices
Consumer Products
Therapeutic Areas
Infectious Disease
Development Stages
Pre-Clinical (in vitro)
Development Status
  • In vitro data available
  • In situ data available (on-site)
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.

Commercial Applications
  • Quality assurance, fraud prevention for anti-malarials
  • Public health and humanitarian concerns
  • Artesunate, artemisinin sales and distributions
Competitive Advantages
  • 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
Licensing Contact:
Mitzelfelt, Jeremiah