A key component of malaria drug resistance surveillance is the assessment of the susceptibility of the malaria parasite to antimalarials, in vitro. However, there can be wide variations in the measurement of parasite growth and the lack of a standardised process can make comparisons between laboratories difficult.
WWARN’s In Vitro Analysis and Reporting Tool (IVART) is a high throughput online tool that can quickly calculate the half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50)metric to measure susceptibility to antimalarial medicines. Until this point, access to the tool was restricted, so that we could capture feedback, but it has now been made accessible to all researchers.
This user-friendly tool saves a considerable amount of time, provides users with standardised and comparable data, and reduces the amount of data handling, leaving little room for errors. It can calculate estimates for several malaria strains and several drug treatment measurements, at the same time.
“Although there are other iterations of IC50 estimation tools out there, what makes IVART unique is that it encourages a more standardised approach amongst the malaria research community and it is free for anyone to use,” says Dr Benoit Witkowski, Scientific Coordinator for the WWARN In Vitro Group. “This software also validates the quality of your data by analysing the IC50 curve.”
Most users have chosen to use the IVART data template to prepare their data prior to analysis. This is an easy way to get started with a small study, but if you have large data sets that are already organised in the 96-well plate format in an excel file, tagging the data yourself is generally more efficient and avoids many manual data handling steps. The output data sets are usually comprised of IC50 determinations for many parasite isolates treated with several different drugs.
Dr Xavier Ding, Scientific Officer at FIND, says: “I find IVART excellent for data analysis. IVART has a good interface and it took me less than an hour to do the first analysis. WWARN is offering a valuable tool to the malaria research community and I highly recommend its use for in vitro testing. I am delighted that it is now freely available for use by researchers.”
“With the help of the Step-by-Step User Guide, IVART should dramatically speed up the rate of calculation and reduce the risk of error. We encourage all malaria in vitro researchers to try this tool – not only could it save you time but it will also provide you with more accurate and standardised data,” adds Dr Witkowski.
For more information on IVART or collaborating with the In Vitro Group, please email Benoit Witkowski: email@example.com and Anais Domergue: firstname.lastname@example.org. Let us know how the tool works for you.
Woodrow C, Dahlström S, Cooksey R. et al. High-throughput analysis of antimalarial susceptibility data by the WWARN In Vitro Analysis and Reporting Tool [IVART]. Antimicrob Agents Chemother July 2013; doi:10.1128/AAC.02350-12.