Isotopic assays are based on the measurement of the metabolic activity of P. falciparum
and its inhibition under the influence of antimalarial drugs. This technique was developed in 1979 by Desjardins et al.
for the quantitative assessment of antimalarial activity using a semi-automated microdilution technique. The most commonly used radioactive marker is [3H]-labelled hypoxanthine, which is being incorporated in the course of the metabolic activity of the parasite and may be measure in a liquid scintillation counter. This method has a high degree of reproducibility and allows for the screening of a large number of P. falciparum
strains under highly controlled conditions. However it needs well-equipped laboratory facilities, involves the handling of radioactive material, and requires high parasite densities.
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