New test fast-tracks diagnosis for malaria

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PARIS: A new invention can cheaply and accurately diagnose malaria infection in just a few minutes using only a droplet of blood, researchers reported Sunday (Monday in Manila) in the journal Nature Medicine.

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The tool could replace the laborious, error-prone method by which a lab technician looks for malaria parasites in blood through a microscope, they said.

While that method is considered the gold standard in malaria diagnostics today, it depends on the technician’s skill in interpreting the image, the quality of the microscope and lab chemicals and even on the thickness of the blood smear on the slide itself.

The touted replacement is an “inexpensive” desk-top mini-lab that, according to its inventors, can detect fewer than 10 malaria parasites per microliter of blood, using a sample of less than 10 microliters — equivalent to a small drop from a finger prick.

AFP

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