KOLKATA: Detection of common mosquito-borne disease malaria could become cheaper and take just ‘seconds’ with a new portable device, the handiwork of researchers from two Kolkata institutes.
A team of researchers from Institute of Engineering and Management in collaboration with 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.
“We have attached a mobile phone camera on a paper microscope which can be used to take image of blood sample on a slide with some chemicals, and the data can be processed at a central server to detect the presence of malaria cell,” Dr Arindam Biswas, Shibpur Head of Department, IT, IIEST, said.
The paper microscope, also known as ‘foldscope’ is an optical microscope that can be assembled from simple components. The results are relayed back to the remote client, and doctor registered in database can access the data and prescribe treatment accordingly, he said. All tests performed by the system are automatically logged on remote central server.
Biswas added that the malaria detection, monitoring and mitigation framework has been patented. The system is called ‘Centaur’ and the detection kit, including the foldable papermade microscope, incurs a manufacturing cost of Rs 80.
“The entire process will not cost much considering the conventional microscope is high-priced. And we have registered 90% accuracy in test cases,” Biswas, who was part of the project as an academician and not on behalf of IIEST, said.