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Content archived on 2024-05-29

Novel Magneto-Optical Biosensors for Malaria Diagnosis


The objective of this proposal is to develop new, fast and effective instrumentation for the diagnosis of malaria by a non-invasive methodology that permits the precise in-vivo analysis of certain specific blood characteristics. It is prompted by the devastating effects of malaria on health and national economies in the third world, the threat to southern European states following climate change. The malarial parasite is known to modify the magnetic properties of red blood in proportion to the degree of infection through conversion of haemoglobin to haemozoin thus changing the magnetic properties.

This proposal will investigate these changed magnetisation states using both the magneto-optical and magneto-thermal interactions of blood as a basis for a potential bio-sensing system for malaria. Currently the most common method of diagnosing malaria is by observation of infected blood using microscopy by trained microscopists. This is time consuming and cannot be accomplished in the field.

The project objectives are two prototype instruments:
1) A portable instrument based on electronic measurement of the magneto-optic response of a blood sample.
2) A completely non-invasive instrument requiring no blood sample and hence avoiding potential cross-infection and HIV issues.

This project will attempt to break new ground in the field of medical diagnosis using magneto-optics and photonics to access information from biological samples that can therefore be interrogated electronically and potentially non-invasively. The use of these techniques is not confined to malaria diagnosis, having wider application for longer-term development in providing a means of interrogating the condition of biological samples where diseased states (cancerous tissues, leukaemia, diabetes) can be identified from fluctuations in magneto-optical or thermal behaviour. A 3-year project is planned involving 7 partners from 5 EU countries.

Call for proposal

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EU contribution
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United Kingdom

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Participants (6)