Non-invasive mobile phone diagnosis of malaria supported by an in vivo technique using aptamers conjugated with acridine orange
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Malaria is one of the parasitic diseases posing a large health burden in Uganda and other developing countries in Africa. Key efforts in handing the disease involve early and accurate diagnosis of the disease. Sadly, presumptuous treatment prevails especially in rural health units due to unavailability of light microscopy, a gold standard diagnostic technique recommended by World Health Organization. Several other researchers continue to uncover new diagnostic techniques and some of these are faced with several limitations as well. Nearly all the diagnostic techniques depend on invasive collection of blood so this research looks at development of a non-invasive technique that is painless and less technical compared to microscopic techniques hence leading to improved diagnosis of malaria. Therefore, the aim of this research is to enable non-invasive malaria diagnosis by using a mobile phone. The research study will evaluate the ability to analyse fluorescence light emitted by Aptamers conjugated with acridine orange following that these Aptamers will be used to label malaria infected red blood cells in vivo. The approach to demonstrate the ability to use Aptamers that would bind to a specific malaria biomarker to permit malaria diagnosis will be carried out at the microbiology laboratory at Makerere University. Blood samples will be collected from patients at Mulago Regional Referral Hospital and these blood samples will be examined. Laboratory tests will be conducted in microbiology laboratory to test our hypothesis that: in vivo labelling of malaria biomarkers with fluorescent aptamers enables non-invasive diagnosis of malaria. The results obtained at the end of every method for the particular aims will be analysed.