Scientists develop handheld device to detect malaria

  • Vanita Srivastava, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Oct 22, 2014 23:24 IST

Scientists at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore have developeda handheld screening device that can detect malaria in less than 30 minutes.

The device, currently in the proof-of-concept stage, is being developed by a team of researchers led by Dr Sai Siva Gorthi, an assistant professor at the Department of Instrumentation and Applied Physics, IISc and incubated at the Robert Bosch Centre for Cyber Physical Systems (RBCCPS) at IISc. The prototype has been developed.

Dr Gorthi’s team is working towards a low-cost diagnostic instrument that takes in a small sample of blood (less than a drop), analyses individual cells to detect cells that are malaria infected.

“We are tremendously excited about this simple yet incredible device that can fully automate the complete workflow of clinical microscopy, making accurate diagnosis of malaria far more accessible than it has been before,” said Dr Parama Pal, head of healthcare at RBCCPS.

“Our approach combines various technologies like image processing, microfluidics and microscopy,” said Dr Gorthi.

When compared to traditional diagnosis methods, the device collects significantly lower quantities of blood and analyses every cell present in this tiny drop of blood and gives a visual representation as well as quantitative count of the malaria affected cells.

The instrument has a common optical reader into which the user slides in a replaceable microfluidic cartridge.

The images beamed on the LCD display will ascertain if the patient has diabetes or not.

This portable handheld device can easily be modified and extended for diagnosing some other diseases as well.

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