`Anti-tank missile detector` may hold key to curing malaria: Study

ANI| Last Updated: Jul 18, 2014, 12:45 PM IST

Washington: A new study has revealed that state-of-the-art military hardware could soon fight malaria.

According to the researchers, the technique is based on Fourier Transform Infrared (FITR) spectroscopy, which provides information on how molecules vibrate and could set a new gold standard for malaria testing.

Researchers used a special imaging detector known as a Focal Plane Array (FPA) to detect malaria parasite-infected red blood cells. Originally developed for Javelin anti-tank heat seeking missiles, the FPA gives highly detailed information on a sample area in minutes.

The heat-seeking detector, which is coupled to an infrared imaging microscope, allowed the team to detect the earliest stages of the malaria parasite in a single red blood cell, while infrared signature from the fatty acids of the parasites enabled the scientists to detect the parasite at an earlier stage, and crucially determine the number of parasites in a blood smear.

Lead researcher, Associate Professor Bayden Wood from Monash University said that to reduce mortality and prevent the overuse of antimalarial drugs; a test that can catch malaria at its early stages is critical and their test detects malaria at its very early stages, so that doctors can stop the disease in its tracks before it takes hold and kills. We believe this sets the gold standard for malaria testing.

The study was published in the journal Analyst.