UC Berkeley researchers develop app for parasite detection

UC Berkeley researchers develop app for parasite detection

UC Berkeley researchers have developed a microscope which can use the camera in the cellphone to detect parasites in blood. The device termed as CellScope works with smartphone camera and an app which can tell if the blood has parasites.

The test takes around two minutes and is almost as accurate as conventional test for blood parasites, claim the development team. The device could be used in remote location and offers a quick solution for conducting tests.

UC Berkeley associate chair and bioengineering professor Daniel Fletcher said, “The video CellScope provides accurate, fast results that enable health workers to make potentially life-saving treatment decisions in the field.”

Fletcher added, “It demonstrates what technology can do to help fill a void for populations that are suffering from terrible, but treatable, diseases.”

Test will allow medical experts to check patients on site and determine if they should administer ivermectin (IVM). The results from the pilot testing conducted with the device have been reported in the current issue of the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Dr. Thomas Nutman from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) also helped the UC Berkeley research team with the project. CellScope used motion instead of molecular markers to detect the parasites.

The project has been supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, UC Berkeley Blum Center for Developing Economies. A pilot study using the device has been conducted in Cameroon.

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