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Cost-effective, transdermal device tests for malaria

July 5, 2015

A noninvasive device that can detect malaria in humans and mosquitoes in 20 seconds or less by by delivering short laser pulses to blood vessels transdermally could provide an effective, low-cost solution for clinical and field diagnoses, according to research published in Emerging Infectious Diseases.

“Malaria control and elimination would benefit greatly from an efficient and universal diagnosis tool that is fast (provides results in seconds), noninvasive and safe (uses no blood sampling or reagents), simple to use (can be operated by nonmedical personnel), sensitive and specific (detects low-level asymptomatic infections), and inexpensive, and that detects malarial infection in humans and in mosquitoes,” Dmitri Lapotko, PhD, DSc, faculty fellow in biochemistry and cell biology at Rice University, and colleagues wrote. “We recently proposed a transdermal blood- and reagent-free approach based on hemozoin-generated vapor nanobubbles in which malaria parasite-specific endogenous nanocrystals of hemozoin are optically excited in vivo with a safe and short laser pulse (delivered to blood vessels through the skin).”

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No commercial support for this activity.

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