A mobile phone
mounted with a super-cheap paper microscope can detect the presence of malarial parasites in the blood in 10 seconds, says an Indian researchers' team, which has developed a system that archives data and maps the real-time distribution of the disease in a particular locality.
Dubbed "Centaur", the framework for detection, monitoring and mitigation of the deadly disease has been created by Nilanjan Daw, Debapriya Paul and Nilanjana Dutta Roy from Institute of Engineering and Management, in collaboration with Arindam Biswas of IIEST, Shibpur.
It aims to eradicate human error, enhance diagnosis in remote areas and enable treatment as fast as possible.
Here are 10 key highlights of how the device works:
“We are planning to have a small camera-based, internet and GPS-enabled device for remote areas where people may not have mobile phones. It has an accuracy of 90 per cent. The algorithm can also be developed for other diseases, including dengue," Arindam Biswas, one of the creators, said.
Biswas said he had collaborated with the project, undertaken by his PhD student and IEM Professor Nilanjana Dutta Roy and two of her research scholars at the institute - Nilanjan Daw and Debapriya Paul.
To a question about patenting the kit, he said, "The paper microscope has been already there and it was developed by Stanford University. The microscope has been given to the research team by Stanford."
Biswas, however, added that the malaria detection, monitoring and mitigation framework devised by the team has been patented.
Biswas said they have approached the West Bengal
government and if their feedback is positive, they are ready to offer the technology for mass use in rural health centres, where vector-borne diseases typically affect more people.
"There are places like Kakdwip in Sunderbans
where we think such devices will be of great help to the people since this system will be effective in both archival of data and mapping the real-time spread of the disease in a particular locality," Nilanjana Dutta Roy, another creator, said.
Vector-borne diseases are reported between mid-July and November-end. Dengue
are caused by aedes agypti mosquito, which breeds in clear water. Anopheles mosquito, which causes malaria, can breed in both fresh and muddy water.