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Assays & screens

Detection of Plasmodium falciparum or Trypanosome infection with ultrasound-based separation of red blood cells (RBCs)

An ultrasound-based separation technique could help detect low levels of parasitemia. The densities of RBCs infected with
P. falciparum are known to be lower than those of uninfected RBCs. A handheld device was constructed that exposed a human blood droplet to ultrasonic waves to induce density-based separation of infected RBCs and allow for sample extraction for microscopic analysis. Compared with no separation, the technique increased infected cell levels in samples by over 100-fold and enabled detection of Trypanosoma cyclops and the ring stage of P. falciparum at levels corresponding to 6 parasites/mL and 25 parasites/mL. Ongoing work includes optimizing the technology for P. falciparum detection.

SciBX 7(16); doi:10.1038/scibx.2014.469
Published online April 24, 2014

Patented by the University of Glasgow; licensed to SAW Dx Ltd.

Bourquin, Y. et al. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.; published online March 26, 2014;
Contact: Jonathan M. Cooper, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, U.K.