Tabletop device detects metallic excrement of blood parasites
Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology Centre
Magnets might soon reveal brewing malaria infections long before symptoms appear. In mice, magnetic sensors take mere minutes to spot otherwise imperceptible levels of the parasitic blood infection, scientists report August 31 in Nature Medicine.
“With malaria, a few days can be the difference between life and death,” says coauthor Peter Preiser, a parasitologist at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. “If confirmed in humans, our technique could detect disease roughly two to four days earlier.”
Infecting an estimated 207 million people worldwide, malaria is currently diagnosed in one of two ways. Splashing a few blood droplets on a dipstick can yield a color-coded answer in 15 minutes. These rapid tests can ensure early treatment; however, they miss about one of six cases in patients with low levels of the parasite. In the second method, expert eyes