Thursday, 2 January 2014

A new method to detect malaria infection within seconds

An advanced, non-invasive technology can now accurately detect even the low levels of malaria infection through the skin within seconds using a laser scanner that doesn't need dyes, diagnostic chemicals, or needles. This technology is developed by the Dept. of Biochemistry and Cell Biology in Physics & Astronomy at Rice University, USA

Malaria, one of the world's deadliest diseases, kills more than 600,000 people each year, most of them being young children. An efficient epidemiological screening and early diagnosis of the disease is a major challenge in the countries affected by the disease.

This is the first through-the-skin method that's been shown to rapidly and accurately detect malaria in seconds without the use of blood sampling or reagents, It just requires a single person to place a finger on a laser apparatus.

The test involves passing a low-powered laser beam through the skin that creates tiny vapor "nanobubbles" inside malaria-infected cells. Due to a particular wavelength set in the apparatus the laser beam is absorbed only by malaria infected cells and subsequently the parasite bursts out. This device can be handled by non medical personnel and approximately 200,000 people could be screened in a year. In addition it's a painless method of testing which surpasses blood withdrawal requirement with 100% accuracy.

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