Rapid and quantitative antimalarial drug efficacy testing via the magneto-optical detection of hemozoin

Sci Rep. 2020 Aug 20;10(1):14025. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-70860-y.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antimalarials / pharmacology*
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Drug Resistance
  • Hemeproteins / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Plasmodium / drug effects
  • Plasmodium / growth & development


  • Antimalarials
  • Hemeproteins
  • hemozoin