New Delhi: Malaria is rapidly gaining momentum around the world and has researchers and scurrying to seek preventive measures.
Now, scientists have found an alternative to the usual blood smear tests (microscopic diagnosis) to detect malaria parasites in the blood.
The team of scientists, including one of Indian origin, have developed a 20 cent cardboard centrifuge in this regard – a low-cost tool can make a big difference in detecting malaria in the poorest parts of the world.
Researchers, including Manu Prakash from Stanford University in the US, built a mathematical model of how a centrifuge worked.
A centrifuge is a medical tool used to separate liquids such as blood being used.
Researchers were inspired by toys such as a yoyo and whirlygig that is made using a spherical object suspended on threads which are then pulled to make it spin.
The team created a computer simulation to capture design variables such as disc size, string elasticity and pulling force, 'BBC News' reported.
They borrowed equations from the physics of supercoiling DNA strands, and eventually created a prototype that spun at up to 125,000 revolutions per minute.
Researchers then used the device to spin blood in a capillary coated with orange dye for 15 minutes.
This separated malarial parasites from red blood cells, enabling them to be spotted under a microscope.
(With PTI inputs)