According to a study in Nature co-authored by Tulane University School of Public health and Tropical Medicine researchers, efforts to fight malaria across Africa have cut the rate of infections in half since 2000. Although serious strides have been made to fight this debilitating disease, there is still much to be done to completely eradicate this malady.
According to Fox News, scientists in Seattle are working towards innovative new malaria treatments to assist the people of Africa.
“When people in Nigeria, the world’s hardest-hit country, get malaria, many simply shrug their shoulders and see it as normal,” said Kayode Ojo, a Nigerian scientist who had malaria as a young boy. “That needs to change.”
Ojo and thousands of other engineers, entrepreneurs, researchers, and scientists are working toward developing innovations to end malaria in the Africa. Based in Seattle, in the city now nicknamed the “Silicon Valley of saving lives,” over 160 organizations are working on global health problems.
Another west coast innovation hub, University of California, Berkeley, has found a way to use cell phones to actually fight malaria.
Seeker reports that along with the Blum Center, a Cal, Berkeley project team is building a Cellscope. The Cellscope is an optical device that converts a cellphone’s camera to a handheld microscope that can be used to screen for blood diseases.
“We run an app, just like you would if you were loading up Facebook or Gmail,” said Matt Bakalar, a Bioengineering PhD student. “The operator would take somebody’s finger, prick their finger, and then load a small volume of blood directly into a glass caplet.”
Once the blood is inside the handheld device, the testing begins and a magnified image of the blood is shown on the cell phone and the program searches for irregular movement caused by parasites in the blood.
“We’ve taken a job that was typically done by a trained pathologist, and we do that instead with software,” Bakalar added.