Jason Andrews and colleagues from Massachusetts General Hospital in the U.S. have developed a low-cost handheld device that allows rapid and quantitative detection of Loa loa helminthic parasites in the bloodstream by fluorescent photometry. Quantitative detection is important because individuals with high levels of Loa loa can be fatally sensitive to a widely administered drug used to treat another common parasitic worm Onchocerca volvulans. Conventional detection by microscopy is labor-intensive, time-consuming, and often impractical in the field. They will calibrate the device, and then conduct a pilot study at an established field site.
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