A team of researchers at Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur have developed a smartphone app as an assistive pathologic tool which will help for the automatic detection of malaria. It is a serious epidemic disease caused by the Plasmodium sp. Parasite. Srilanka has been taking steps for the eradication of malaria and India certainly, has to learn from the neighbour’s experience.
Timely detection and treatment are necessary to eradicate this epidemic. A technological breakthrough is required to increase the speed and efficacy of diagnosis which would reduce mortality rates. So, to provide a reliable and rapid detection solution, a team of researchers of IIT-Kharagpur have developed an Android app for the automatic detection of parasite-infected red blood cells and its counting. The development of app has been done in the BioMedical Imaging Informatics Lab, headed by Chandan Chakraborty and his research team at the School of Medical Science & Technology, IIT-Kharagpur.
Mr. Chakraborty explained on how this app works. He said that the smartphone has to be attached to an adapter with the eye-piece of the existing conventional microscope. The microscope is available in any pathology lab. Later, the stained blood smear slide is kept under the microscope, and the camera of smartphone automatically clicks many microscopic image frames from the slide. All these images have to be saved digitally, and then the app is used to detect all the infected RBCs present in the image.
So far, the app has been tested on more than 200 microscopic images of 80 patients. According to a pilot study, the app is 90% accurate in detecting infected RBCs.