Malaria detection for idiots


It is rather hard to believe that after all these years, there does not seem to be any vaccine for the scourge that we call malaria. Sure, trailblazers to Africa and other remote places did come across this strange disease, where they did not realize that it is mosquitoes that actually carried the malaria disease, and until quinine was discovered as the cure, countless people had already fallen victim to it. Well, early detection plays an important role so that the proper medical care can be administered, and while we might see ourselves to live in a developed country where you do not hear of anyone falling sick because of malaria, there are still millions out there living along the fringes of urbanisation as well as in deep, remote areas of the jungle that who could die because malaria was not detected earlier. Researchers at St George’s, University of London announced that they are working on a spanking new project known as Nanomal, where Nanomal will function as a portable device which is capable of detecting the malarial parasite while identifying its species in record time – we are talking about just 15 minutes.

This particular handheld device will take a sample of your blood through the normal finger prick, where it will then extract the malarial DNA followed by detecting and sequencing the specific mutations that are linked to drug resistance, all using a nanowire biosensor. The chip is electrically capable of detecting the DNA sequences, converting them directly into binary code afterwards so that computers are able to figure things out. This binary code will then be readily analyzed and shared if the need arises over wireless or mobile networks, alongside scientists checking out the binary code for real-time monitoring of disease patterns.

Roughly the size and shape of a mobile phone, it is touted to offer a similar quality of result as a referral laboratory, without having one fork out too much money. We are looking at a single-test cartridge costing approximately €13 (£10) at first, although do expect the final sum to reduce in due time.

Project Page

2 reviews or comments

tallulahlucy Says: October 4, 2012 at 1:07 am

For idiots? Really? I went to the website and it’s actually for health workers in remote areas. I wouldn’t say those brave and dedicated people are idiots. Just saying…

Edwin Says: October 4, 2012 at 1:08 am

Hi, I think you misunderstood me. Basically, I’m following the same naming convention of the books “…for Dummies” series, meaning it is so easy to use, that anyone can. Cheers!

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