UC Berkeley researchers use mobile phone-based technology to detect river blindness

Source:Xinhua Published: 2017/11/10 8:05:33

Researchers at University of California, Berkeley have developed a smartphone-based microscope technology to help detect and treat river blindness, a debilitating disease caused by parasitic worms.

The technology, called LoaScope, uses video from a cell phone-connected microscope to automatically detect and quantify infection by parasitic worms in a drop of blood, said a UC Berkely press release issued on Thursday.

River blindness is a disease caused by a parasitic worm found primarily in Africa.

Humans contract the disease mainly through bites of infected black flies, which transmit the worm to human body. If left unattended, infections in the eye can cause blindness.

The LoaScope can provide fast and effective testing for Loa loa parasites in the blood.

With the help of the LoaScope, which was used to analyze the blood of volunteers from villages in the African country of Cameroon, doctors were able to successfully treat more than 15,000 patients with ivermectin without serious complications.

LoaScope is the latest example of the application of CellScope technology, which turns the camera of a mobile phone or tablet computer into a high-quality light microscope.

The technology can be applied to a wide range of fields, from infectious disease diagnosis to ocean microorganism surveys, and from to eye disease detection to classroom education.

Posted in: BIOLOGY

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