Malaria affects more than 200 million people per year in the world and is one of the worst diseases that will not just leave this world.
Howbeit,John Lewandowski, a PhD student in mechanical engineering at MIT, said diagnosing it quickly is critical.He’s designed a mechanical device called RAM (Rapid Assessment of Malaria) that is able to detect malaria in five seconds from a drop of blood.
There are two primary ways to diagnose malaria: You can test a drop of blood under a microscope to identify the parasite, or you can do a diagnostic test on a blood drop sample, which returns a positive or negative result, similar to a home pregnancy test. But many rural communities in Africa and Asia don’t have the medical infrastructure for microscopic tests, and the diagnostic test can’t detect malaria infection in the very early stages.
“Early detection is very important, typically in the first five to seven days before symptoms arise, so that treatment can begin,” said Lewandowski, 26.”It’s pretty bare bones,” said Lewandowski, who’s the founder and CEO of Boston-based Disease Diagnostic Group, which is developing the device. “As an engineer, I thought about creating a way to detect these magnetic crystals quickly,” said Lewandowski.
The RAM is battery-operated, costs about $100 to $120, and is made from low-cost materials. The plastic box (measuring 4×4 inches) has a small circuit board, a few magnets and a laser on the inside. On the outside is an LCD screen, an SD card slot and a plastic disposable cuvette.