Reagent-Free, Needle-Free Microscopy for Malaria Diagnosis
Rebecca Richards-Kortum of Rice University in the U.S. will measure light scattered by malaria-infected red blood cells using a small microscope that can be placed on the skin as a way to detect infection in patients without the need to draw blood. This rapid and painless diagnostic would not require consumable reagents or a trained operator, and would not generate biohazardous waste. This project's Phase I research demonstrated that two key optical signatures could be used to recognize malaria-infected red blood cells and that these signatures could be visualized in the superficial vasculature of an animal model with a table-top microscope. In Phase II, Richards-Kortum and a team will develop a portable, battery-powered microscope and test its ability to image the superficial vasculature in humans and also quantify infected red blood cells in a small pilot study of malaria patients.