MEDICAL DEVICES THAT HOPE TO REVOLUTIONISE THE FIGHT AGAINST MALARIA

At Ashling James we are keen to promote the great work medical devices play in combatting the spread of malaria.

According to the WHO ( World Health Organisation) , 216 million people were infected with malaria last year. 445,000 people died from the disease. Estimates suggest 70% of children were under 5 years old.

3 organisations highlighted, are using innovation to help early detection and immediate access to medicine.

1) Researchers at USC Viterbi School of Engineering have created a early detection device. This is a portable diagnostic system (PODS) . Weighs 10 pounds and has a 8 hour battery. Analysis of a blood sample takes 15 minutes.

When a malaria infected mosquito infects humans with a parasite, the parasite digests haemoglobin. This creates a by product, Heme. This is aggregated to Hemozin. Hemozin ( iron crystals) – is magnetic and blocks light.

The PODS has 3 components, a laser, light detector and a magnet. It is the amount of light penetrating a sample of blood and movement of magnetic Hemozin that indicates malaria.  The development of PODS is helping challenge the distinguishing of Hemozin nanoparticles from everything in the whole blood sample.

2) A Ghanian company, mPedigree have developed a tech solution to fight tackle fake drugs in Africa. When drugs are dispensed or bought from a pharmacist, a panel is scratched to reveal a 10 digit code. By simply sending this code by SMS Message for free, a text back confirms the authenticity of drugs.

mPedigree are currently working with Hewlett Packard in launching trials in Nigeria and Ghana.

3) MOMALA ( Mobile Malaria Lab) – uses a Invitro Device for early detection of malaria. Connected through a Smart phone – a team of microbiologists, data sciences and software engineers have developed this application.

The App reads the blood, MOMOLA recognises white blood cells and plasmodium parasites.  The built in algorithm identifies 3 of the 5 malaria parasites in the blood. The build in technology, acts as a microscope, to identify parasites.

These hand held  devices are highly effective in rural areas where it is helping combat long malaria testing cues and crucially diagnosing in minutes so treatment can be administrated immediately.

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