Malaria is a deadly menace that still kills and threatens millions around the world. According to a report by the WHO-UNICEF, published in the year 2015, among 15 countries with the highest cases of malaria deaths, India is third.
In 2015 alone, there were an estimated 214 million new cases of malaria, and approximately 4.38 lakh died of the disease.
About 3.2 billion people, almost half the world’s population, are at risk from the disease.
A team of researchers from Institute of Engineering and Management, in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology, Shibpur, claim to have developed a mobile, low-cost malaria detection system, which can also diagnose dengue with some modifications, according to a report in Times of India.
“Every patient will incur a cost of only Rs 10 for each test against a drop of blood taken from the tip of his finger, and the remote testing facility will give results within seconds and provide a hard copy of the report,” said Dr Arindam Biswas, Shibpur Head of Department, IT, IIEST.
Some of the salient features of this new mobile-based detection system are:
1. Patients will now have to incur only Rs 10 for the test.
2. Blood is drawn from the tip of the finger for this test.
3. The remote testing facility ensures that the test results are delivered within 10 to 12 seconds.
4. The algorithm used to the malaria testing can also be further developed for other diseases, including dengue.
5. A database of all the results is saved in a remote central server.
6. Since the app links GPS data with the test cases, the system generates a real-time disease heat map.
7. The database also provides a much-needed early warning before an imminent epidemic breaks out.
8. Once all approvals are in place, the developer intends to train local social workers in remote villages who will be able to use the kit themselves for detection.
This is certainly a great step forward in the field of medicine and science. The hope is that all approvals come in enabling the mass production and dissemination of its benefits.