Diagnosing malaria can be a bit of a pain, especially when trying to test in remote parts of the world where such tests are most needed. For one, it requires a standard blood smear test with the right chemical reagents and a high-quality microscope. It also should be done by a lab technician with proper training, and each test takes 15 minutes and costs roughly $1. Oh -- and the tests spoil in hot climates if not properly stored.
Scientists around the world have been working on vaccines to protect humans against malaria for years, to largely no avail. In fact, the World Health Organization -- which estimates that 2010 alone saw 219 million cases of the disease and 660,000 deaths, almost all in Africa -- set the year 2025 as a target date to develop a vaccine that is 80 percent effective.
Now, researchers the world over are enjoying news of a highly successful vaccine with "cautious optimism," according to the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.… Read more
In the dead heat of summertime here in Georgia, it's nearly impossible to walk more than 10 paces without a hungry mosquito latching onto you. Bloodcurdling footage, captured by French researchers, delivers an extremely close view of what exactly happens when a skeeter strikes -- and after watching, you may never want to go outside again.
Let's get this out of the way first: The following horrifying videos -- full of mosquito mouth parts moving in ways you probably never imagined -- aren't a high-tech peepshow designed to freak you out.… Read more
Aside from tick-slaying robots, what we all need for summer is mosquito-slaying robots.
That could happen in the future, but for now there's Kite Patch, a square you stick on your clothing to make you practically invisible to mosquitoes for up to 48 hours.
Malaria nets don't generally grace the pages of Vogue. But that could change, thanks to a couple of inventive Cornell University scientists.
The two, both from Africa, have created a hooded garment embedded with insecticide to ward off mosquitoes infected with malaria, a preventable and curable infectious disease that kills more than 650,000 people a year on the continent, according to the World Health Organization.
The getup consists of a colorful hand-dyed one-piece bodysuit and a mesh cape and hood. While nets treated with insecticide are a common, cost-effective prevention tool in Africa, the Cornellians say their garment can be worn during the day for extra protection. Plus, their fabric's mosquito-repellant properties are extra strong and long-lasting. … Read more
Many of us have relied on rapid diagnostic tests at one time or another, whether it's testing for pregnancy, blood glucose levels, or strep throat.
But while dropping fluid samples on a small strip for near-instantaneous results is affordable and convenient, reading results using the human eye means there is the potential for, well, human error.
So researchers at UCLA have taken the human out of the equation as much as possible and developed a digital "universal" reader for all rapid diagnostic tests, or RDTs, that requires no translation of results.
In the journal Lab on a … Read more
Affordable paper sensors aren't exactly new. Think home pregnancy tests. But researchers out of the University of Texas at Austin are pushing (or is it folding?) the envelope with their origami-inspired 3D paper sensor that, thanks to strategic folding, can identify more substances in more complex tests.
Able to be printed at less than a dime a sensor using an ordinary office printer and less than a minute of folding, the origami Paper Analytical Device (which they've dubbed oPAD) "is about medicine for everybody," said Richard Crooks, a chemistry professor who built the sensor with doctoral student Hong Liu, in a school news release.
Researchers in Canada say they've built a device that will help them study changes in red blood cells caused by the most common species of malaria parasites, plasmodium falciparum, which causes the most lethal form of a disease that claims almost a million lives every year.
The microfluidic device, which is just 1 x 2 inches, is not a diagnostic tool but rather a way to test potential treatments--a crucial step in the fight against malaria, which is constantly evolving to develop resistance to drugs.
Typically, human red blood cells squeeze through capillaries that are narrower than the cells … Read more
After taking second place in the 2011 Imagine Cup finals, Team Lifelens of the U.S. is one of four teams from around the world to win a $75,000 Imagine Cup grant, Microsoft announced today at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.
The Lifelens project is run by students at universities across the country who have been working since November 2010 on an app that can image malaria cells for fast diagnosis right there on the phone, sans Internet.
The premise is straightforward. Apply a blood sample to a slide with a dye that only malaria … Read more
After IBM's Watson computing system defeated two human competitors on Jeopardy this year, it partnered with the nonprofit Scripps Research Institute to direct the tournament prize money toward finding a cure for drug-resistant malaria.
Now all the team is asking for is a little help from around the globe. It's using the World Community Grid, described as a "supercomputer of the people," to use spare computing power from volunteered PCs.
Since the Grid was set up seven years ago, some 575,000 people in more than 80 countries have donated spare computing power from nearly 2 … Read more