We use cookies to understand how you use our site and to improve your experience. This includes personalizing content and advertising. To learn more, click here. By continuing to use our site, you accept our use of cookies. Cookie Policy.

Features Partner Sites Information LinkXpress
Sign In
Advertise with Us
LGC Clinical Diagnostics

Download Mobile App

Rapid Diagnostic Test Uses Light to Detect Malaria without Blood Samples

By LabMedica International staff writers
Posted on 09 Jan 2023
Print article
Image: Non-invasive malaria screening device uses light for diagnosis (Photo courtesy of Pexels)
Image: Non-invasive malaria screening device uses light for diagnosis (Photo courtesy of Pexels)

Rapid tests, which are easy to deploy and require minimal equipment, provide an important diagnostic tool in the ongoing effort against malaria, which affects more than 250 million people around the world annually. While the advent of these tests has greatly advanced diagnosis in regions where the disease is endemic, they still involve invasive blood draws from patients, which require skilled medical personnel and pose additional safety risks. Now, a team of scientists is developing an alternative: a rapid diagnostic test that uses light to diagnose the often deadly disease - no blood draws or finger pricks needed.

Current rapid malaria tests involve applying a blood sample to a testing strip that can detect the presence of malaria-causing plasmodium parasites in red blood cells. Such tests can be administered at the point of care and provide results in about 20 minutes, but also are inadequate for detection of asymptomatic infections where the level of parasites in blood is low. The team of scientists led by Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD, USA) has improved on that model through the development of a hand-held screening device that can scan a patient’s arm or finger to detect the presence of malaria, eliminating the need to draw blood. Called ParaSpy Plus, the technology depends on an optical fiber probe that combines two spectroscopy modalities, label-free Raman spectroscopy and diffuse reflectance spectroscopy, or DRS, to noninvasively quantify malaria parasites in red blood cells.

Thanks to the fiber probe, Raman and DRS measurements are sequentially performed in vivo without sampling blood. When collected by the device, the measurements will then directly feed into artificial intelligence algorithms that can provide a quick and accurate diagnosis. The team plans to integrate its new sensing technology and AI software into a single portable screening device. And without any blood draws or sample preparation, the device can be used to screen for malaria outside of a clinical setting, such as in schools or community centers. The team expects that at the end of the three-year project period, the prototype will be ready for large-scale validation via clinical studies in different malaria-endemic regions. ParaSpy Plus will also be adaptable to the diagnosis and treatment of many other diseases, according to the team.

“With our proposed method, there are no invasive finger-pricks. Instead, we are working on a way to diagnose whether a person has malaria through non-invasive measurements using near-infrared light,” said team leader Ishan Barman, an associate professor of mechanical engineering in the Whiting School of Engineering. “The secondary goal of our work is to explore the capability of this platform for the diagnosis of diseases with high prevalence among the same populations, such as anemia and sickle cell disease.”

Related Links:
Johns Hopkins University 

Platinum Supplier
ADAMTS-13 Protease Activity Test
ATS-13 Activity Assay
Gold Supplier
hCG Whole Blood Pregnancy Test
Complement 3 (C3) Test
GPP-100 C3 Kit
Gold Supplier
Spinal Fluid Cell Count Control

Print article


Clinical Chemistry

view channel
Image: A module with eight micro-devices, complete with microfluidic channels and drive motors (Photo courtesy of U.S Department of Energy)

Highly Sensitive pH Sensor to Aid Detection of Cancers and Vector-Borne Viruses

Understanding the acidity or alkalinity of substances through pH measurement is crucial in many fields, from environmental monitoring to healthcare product safety. In many cases, these measurements must... Read more


view channel
Image: The QScout hematology analyzer has received US FDA 510(k) clearance (Photo courtesy of Ad Astra Diagnostics)

First Rapid-Result Hematology Analyzer Reports Measures of Infection and Severity at POC

Sepsis, a critical medical condition that arises as an extreme response to infection, poses a significant health threat. It occurs when an infection triggers a widespread inflammatory response in the body.... Read more


view channel
Image: PointCheck is the world’s first device for non-invasive white cell monitoring (Photo courtesy of Leuko Labs)

World’s First Portable, Non-Invasive WBC Monitoring Device to Eliminate Need for Blood Draw

One of the toughest challenges for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy is experiencing a low count of white blood cells, also known as neutropenia. These cells play a crucial role in warding off infections.... Read more


view channel
Image: Current testing methods for antibiotic susceptibility rely on growing bacterial colonies in the presence of antibiotics (Photo courtesy of 123RF)

Rapid Antimicrobial Susceptibility Test Returns Results within 30 Minutes

In 2019, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) was responsible for the deaths of approximately 1.3 million individuals. The conventional approach for testing antimicrobial susceptibility involves cultivating... Read more


view channel
Image: AI methods used in satellite imaging can help researchers analyze tumor images (Photo courtesy of Karolinska Institutet)

AI Approach Combines Satellite Imaging and Ecology Techniques for Analysis of Tumor Tissue

Advancements in tumor imaging technology have significantly enhanced our ability to observe the minute details of tumors, but this also brings the challenge of interpreting vast amounts of data generated... Read more


view channel
Image: Made-to-order diagnostic tests may soon be on the horizon (Photo courtesy of McGill University)

Breakthrough in Diagnostic Technology Could Make On-The-Spot Testing Widely Accessible

Home testing gained significant importance during the COVID-19 pandemic, yet the availability of rapid tests is limited, and most of them can only drive one liquid across the strip, leading to continued... Read more


view channel
Image: The acquisition significantly expands Medix Biochemica’s portfolio of IVD raw materials (Photo courtesy of ViroStat)

Medix Biochemica Acquires US-Based ViroStat to Expand Infectious Diseases Antibody Offering

Medix Biochemica (Espoo, Finland), a supplier of critical raw materials to the in vitro diagnostics (IVD) industry, has acquired ViroStat LLC (Portland, ME, USA), a provider of infectious disease antibodies... Read more
Copyright © 2000-2023 Globetech Media. All rights reserved.