Siemens is working on a procedure that would allow blood to be routinely tested for malaria.
Physicians normally diagnose the tropical disease by using a microscope to search for parasites in blood samples. The problem is that practically every instance of fever in countries where the disease is common is treated with antimalarial drugs, despite the fact that doctors don't even know if the patient is afflicted with malaria.
Conversely, doctors in countries where malaria is rare often don't associate their patients' symptoms with the tropical fever and therefore don't make the correct diagnosis. As reported in the Siemens research magazine Pictures of the Future, scientists from Siemens' research department Corporate Technology (CT) have now developed a method that can detect malaria using information from a standard blood test. The scientists' goal is to implement the new procedure in Siemens' ADVIA 2010 hematology system, which is now being used in many hospitals around the world.
Malaria is one of the world's most devastating tropical diseases. According to the World Health Organization, some 200 million people became afflicted in 2012, and more than 600,000 people died. It's difficult to make a proper diagnosis because the symptoms can have many different causes. Medical lab technicians also need to have a lot of experience to identify malaria parasites under a microscope.
Experts say that only around ten percent of actual cases worldwide are diagnosed as such. Being able to detect the disease through a blood test would improve the situation. The problem up until now was that although malaria does change certain blood attributes, such as the number of platelets, the same is also true of other illnesses.
The idea was to identify a malaria affliction on the basis of a distinct combination of several different blood attributes. Together with colleagues from Siemens Healthcare, CT researchers analyzed anonymous blood data from samples taken from both healthy individuals and malaria patients.
They initially selected parameters that might potentially be related to malaria from the hundreds of measurement values produced by the ADVIA system. They then used statistical methods to search for distinct blood value patterns in the samples taken from malaria patients. In this manner, they developed a formula for searching for these "malaria patterns" in blood sample data.
Their technique can also be adapted to different situations. For example, sometimes it's important to be able to detect malaria even if the number of parasites present in blood is very low - i.e. the triggers must be very sensitive. In other situations, doctors want to be very certain they're making the right diagnosis in order to avoid false alarms. The new formula for malaria diagnosis performs very well with respect to both sensitivity and specificity.
The formula is based on the blood values associated with the most common form of malaria. The researchers are further developing their method in order to be able to distinguish between the seven different types of malaria and to test how well their method diagnoses each of them. They are also analyzing additional blood data sets from different regions around the world with the goal of making their procedure even more robust.
Dr. Norbert Aschenbrenner | Siemens InnovationNews
Scientists use nanoparticle-delivered gene therapy to inhibit blinding eye disease in rodents
08.07.2020 | Johns Hopkins Medicine
Deconstructing glioblastoma complexity reveals its pattern of development
08.07.2020 | McGill University
Biochemists at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) have used a standard electron cryo-microscope to achieve surprisingly good images that are on par with those taken by far more sophisticated equipment. They have succeeded in determining the structure of ferritin almost at the atomic level. Their results were published in the journal "PLOS ONE".
Electron cryo-microscopy has become increasingly important in recent years, especially in shedding light on protein structures. The developers of the new...
New insight into the spin behavior in an exotic state of matter puts us closer to next-generation spintronic devices
Aside from the deep understanding of the natural world that quantum physics theory offers, scientists worldwide are working tirelessly to bring forth a...
Kiel physics team observed extremely fast electronic changes in real time in a special material class
In physics, they are currently the subject of intensive research; in electronics, they could enable completely new functions. So-called topological materials...
Solar cells based on perovskite compounds could soon make electricity generation from sunlight even more efficient and cheaper. The laboratory efficiency of these perovskite solar cells already exceeds that of the well-known silicon solar cells. An international team led by Stefan Weber from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz has found microscopic structures in perovskite crystals that can guide the charge transport in the solar cell. Clever alignment of these "electron highways" could make perovskite solar cells even more powerful.
Solar cells convert sunlight into electricity. During this process, the electrons of the material inside the cell absorb the energy of the light....
Empa researchers have succeeded in applying aerogels to microelectronics: Aerogels based on cellulose nanofibers can effectively shield electromagnetic radiation over a wide frequency range – and they are unrivalled in terms of weight.
Electric motors and electronic devices generate electromagnetic fields that sometimes have to be shielded in order not to affect neighboring electronic...
07.07.2020 | Event News
02.07.2020 | Event News
19.05.2020 | Event News
13.07.2020 | Physics and Astronomy
13.07.2020 | Life Sciences
13.07.2020 | Life Sciences