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Cell phone app the latest weapon in malaria detection

Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - 01:45

June 8 - An Israeli researcher has developed a way to detect malaria with a cell phone. When developed commercially, experts say the simple and non-invasive technology could produce life-saving results in the fight against Africa's most lethal disease. Lily Grimes reports.

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It takes nearly one million lives a year. And half the world's population is at risk of infection. Malaria is spread by mosquitos and is one of Africa's most lethal diseases. Now researchers have found a new way to detect the parasitic disease - using a cell phone. At Israel's Ben Gurion University Alberto Bilenca's new system allows cases to be diagnosed quickly and easily. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ALBERTO BILENCA, MALARIA DETECTING APP DEVELOPER SAYING: "Basically you have to hold the cell phone and image the tissue you would like to test. And by looking at the blood flow and at the malaria pigment images, hopefully you would be able to diagnose and monitor the severity of this terrible disease." Tropical diseases expert, Alon Warburg at Jerusalem's Hebrew University says early identification of the disease is vital to its effective treatment (SOUNDBITE) (English) ALON WARBURG, THE HEBREW UNIVERSITY OF JERUSALEM, SAYING: "When you come to a rural clinic, anything up to 90 percent of the cases would be malaria. Diagnosing them this takes time, it takes professional knowledge of how to do it. What this technology will enable would be for a person to obtain the same data within a minute or less." According to the World Health Organisation there are around 250 million cases of malaria in Africa each year. The researchers hope to complete their project within four years making cell phones the latest weapon in the battle against malaria. Lily Grimes, Reuters

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Cell phone app the latest weapon in malaria detection

Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - 01:45