Infrared Light Beam Might Be Used to Detect Malaria Through Skin

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According to research published in Science Daily, if widely used, rapid, needle-free malaria testing equipment created by the team at the University of Queensland might save hundreds of thousands of lives each year.  

Scientists have developed a gadget that can diagnose malaria without drawing blood by shining an infrared light into a person’s ear or finger for five to ten seconds, recording an infrared signature, and then passing that signal into a computer program.  

Aa per Dr. Maggy Lord of UQ’s School of Biological Sciences, who leads the international team, the gadget will change the global fight against malaria. The University of Queensland created a needle-free malaria diagnosis method that has the potential to save hundreds of thousands of lives each year.  

Dr. Maggy Lord leads the worldwide team from the School of Biological Sciences at UQ and says the new technology would change the global fight against malaria. Malaria is typically diagnosed through a blood test.

Still, scientists have developed a device that flashes a harmless infrared light onto a person’s ear or finger for 5-10 seconds to record an infrared signature, which is then analyzed by a computer program to determine whether or not the individual has malaria.  

Dr. Lord stated that testing large groups of individuals, such as a village or town population, is currently exceedingly tricky since it requires obtaining blood samples from everyone and mixing them with a reagent.  

“But today, we can tell whether a whole village is infected with malaria immediately.” Malaria may be detected immediately through the skin using infrared light. “Smartphone control allows you rapid access to data. Scientists believe this new technology will play a significant role in the quest to eliminate malaria.  

According to Dr. Lord, the World Health Organization projects that malaria will infect 241 million people and kill over 600,000 by 2020.”Most deaths occur in Sub-Saharan African nations, and 90% of those killed are children under five. The most significant barrier to elimination is the prevalence of asymptomatic persons in a community who act as a reservoir for mosquito transmission.

“This non-invasive, inexpensive, and quick gadget offers a technique to achieve comprehensive surveillance in endemic sites,” according to the World Health Organization.  

The approach may also help treat other disorders. “We have utilized this technique to successfully identify illnesses like malaria, Zika, and dengue without damaging the mosquitos,” Dr. Lord stated.

“After the COVID period, it may aid in preventing infections when individuals travel worldwide. This instrument will screen travelers and tourists at airports and other entrance points, thereby minimizing disease spread and preventing future pandemics.” 

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