ENGEENUITY-INDICASAT AIP develop potential non-invasive sustainable solution against malaria at the City of Knowledge
With a near 80% reduction of the malaria parasite in infected blood, Engeenuity S.A. - in collaboration with INDICASAT AIP - demonstrated in the laboratory the potential effectiveness of a mechanism based on physical energy (Photonics) to cure this disease that currently puts at risk 3.5 billion people - approximately half of the worlds population - and which is responsible for the death of about 2 thousand children daily.
The strategic alliance developed at the City of Knowledge brought together Engeenuity's Biophotonic technology and INDICASAT AIP's research capabilities and demonstrated, after 5 years of research and iterations, that the incidence of the EN8 Biophotonic device in infected blood in the laboratory affects the viability of Plasmodium falciparum (parasite that causes Malaria) with a significance of more than 99.99%, without affecting epithelial cells used as control.
In 2012, Engeenuity S.A. demonstrated its interest in testing its portable biophotonic technology to conduct research on its use against malaria, and therefore contacted Dr. Carmenza Spadafora, Coordinator of the Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology of Diseases at INDICASAT AIP.
Spadafora points out: "Research conducted to date has allowed us to confirm Engeenuity's technological ability to inhibit the growth of the malaria parasite within certain parameters that do not appear to affect other normal cells, although more research is needed to be able to assert it . After 5 years of iterations with different Engeenuity devices and application protocols, we have seen that EN8 effectively manages to stop the growth of the parasite without the use of another intervention."
Currently there are three ways to combat Malaria: drugs, vaccines and vector control (Anopheles mosquito) through fumigation, but these are costly, complex to implement at scale and often ineffective. The tests carried out by INDICASAT AIP suggest that Biophotonic technology, besides providing a solution against growth of the parasite, houses the possibility of being used in a portable way, at low cost and non-invasively.
Spadafora adds: "The treatments used so far are effective until the parasite develops resistance. That is why it is in our interest to remain in a line of research that offers other alternatives to combat this deadly disease."
The results achieved to date in the research project led by Engeenuity S.A. and INDICASAT AIP represent a landmark that will definitely put the City of Knowledge and Panama on the map; reason for which they were recognized last March for the 2017 National Entrepreneurial Innovation Award competition organized by SENACYT & CCIAP.
Víctor De Franco Levi, CEO of Engeenuity S.A., informs; "We are less than 3 months away from introducing a prototype that would be applicable to early tests on primates. We also believe we can provide scalable solutions for other infections or diseases caused by parasites, bacteria and viruses, and that is why Engeenuity will continue to work to achieve more successes like this one in Panama."