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South African start-up named Africa Challenge winner for its mission to eradicate malaria

Erada Technology Alliance receives 3,000 EUR for its world’s first saliva-based malaria rapid diagnostic test (RDT).

Erada Technology Alliance’s ambition to eradicate malaria moved a step closer this week after scooping 3,000 EUR on winning the 2019 Africa Challenge.

In doing so, it has booked its ticket to the Paris Global Summit in March 2020, where it will pitch again against 1,000 fellow start-ups from across the world in front of 300 investors and international media for the opportunity to receive 100,000 EUR.

The South African start-up saw off 5,000 applicants from across Africa to win the Hello Tomorrow Africa Challenge award.

This announcement came at the AfricArena conference in Cape Town, which brought together tech start-ups from all over Africa.

Erada’s RDT, known as SALVA!, detects the Plasmodium parasite which causes malaria through a saliva sample, as opposed to blood tests currently being used. This is the first of its kind in the world.

The test provides results in as little as 20 minutes, removing the need to take blood, and samples to be sent for external analysis. The device can be easily transported and used at schools or other community facilities by teachers and parents alike.

Announcing the results of the Africa Challenge, the panel of judges praised Erada’s ambitions by saying its “fight to end malaria has inspired many. Huge congratulations.”

Founder Benji Pretorius, who himself contracted malaria, said: “It is such an honour to be named the winner of the Africa Challenge, and our sincere thanks go to Hello Tomorrow and AfricArena for selecting us. As someone who has survived malaria myself, it gives me great pride to be involved in the fight to make the world malaria-free; this funding is a great stride forward and will be essential for us to take SALVA!’s development one step further.

The 3,000 EUR grant comes off the back of Erada securing further funding from the Japan-based Global Health Innovative Technology (GHIT) fund and a significant grant from South African mining corporation, the De Beers Group; all of which is essential for taking the SALVA! test through to commercialisation.

SALVA! Is a collaboration between Erada Technology Alliance, clinical research work carried out by Dr Rhoel Dinglasan, Oasis Diagnostics and Fusion Antibodies.

About ERADA Technology Alliance Ltd (ERADA)

ERADA Technology Alliance Ltd (ERADA), was founded by Dr Benji Pretorius and Dr Richard Schmidt, located in Musina, South Africa, and pioneers of innovative, rapid diagnostic solutions for early detection of infectious diseases, including malaria. Dr Pretorius, the company’s Managing Director, himself an experienced medical practitioner, is an expert in the field of malaria management and has a long track record of working in the pharmaceutical, health, wellness and fitness industry. ERADA collaborates with the following partners:

Dinglasan Malaria Laboratory was established in 2009 as part of the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute prior to its transfer to the University of Florida's Emerging Pathogens Institute in 2016.  The lab leverages multi-omics approaches to discover, validate and eventually develop enabling technologies focused on malaria elimination and eradication.

Oasis Diagnostics® Corporation was founded in 2002 to address a growing need for non-invasive saliva based technology for rapid testing, sample collection, and molecular diagnostics [DNA, RNA and proteins] in the Life Sciences and Diagnostics areas. The Company is dedicated to meeting the need for more effective screening tools, which may be applied to the early detection of diseases and medical disorders, utilizing non-invasive test specimens, particularly oral fluids (saliva).

Fusion Antibodies is a Contract Research Organisation (CRO) established in 2001 and located in Northern Ireland, UK. Its mission is to enable biopharmaceutical and diagnostic companies to develop innovative products in a timely and cost-effective manner for the benefit of the global healthcare industry.