New Rapid Malaria Test Uses Magnets and a Laser – NYTimes.comPosted: June 11, 2013
The Case Western device dilutes a drop of blood with water, places a magnetic field around it and shines a laser through it. If the blood has parasites, the water splits them and the needle-shaped hemozoin crystals line up in the magnetic field, partly blocking the laser.
In tests on stored blood samples from Papua New Guinea, said Brian T. Grimberg, a Case Western biologist, the magnet-laser box was almost twice as accurate as a microscope technician at finding parasites, and more than three times as accurate as the kits.
The rapid kits, introduced in the last decade, have sped up malaria diagnoses in rural clinics, but they cost at least $1 each and expire in hot climates, Dr. Grimberg added.
His device failed to win grant support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Dr. Grimberg said, but that was before the recent blood tests. A foundation spokeswoman said that she did not know why any single one of thousands of applications was denied, but that the foundation was interested in iron-based malaria detection.