TECH

Scientists Develop Smartphone App That Can Scan Blood For Parasites

07/05/2015 09:44 BST | Updated 07/05/2015 10:59 BST

Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, have developed a revolutionary new iPhone app which allows the smartphone to search through blood samples for parasites.

cellscope

CellScope uses a large black box which attaches to the iPhone. A blood sample is then placed into the box and at the press of a button, the phone shakes the bloody sample, captures footage and then analyses it.

The software built into the app then analyses the movement in the sample, predicts the number of Loa loa parasites and recommends whether the patient requires treatment or not.

One of the lead researchers Prof Daniel Fletcher spoke to the BBC about the potential implications, "I'm excited, it offers a new higher-tech approach to dealing with very low-tech problems."

"There are drugs to treat many neglected tropical diseases, these are problems that should be solved, but there is not the technology to identify people who who need the right drugs."

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CellScope is far easier to use than current methods which require trained medical experts to analyse the blood samples with the naked eye.

Trials in Cameroon have proved to be highly successful and the plan is to roll out the test to over 40,000 people.