Scientists have developed an automated blood test that can accurately diagnose malaria much faster than current methods. A major problem associated with this infectious tropical disease is the difficulty in obtaining a fast and reliable diagnosis. Up to now, it was diagnosed mainly by means of the microscopic detection of pathogens in the blood by medical technicians – an inaccurate and time-consuming method. The test developed by the researcher from the Technical University of Munich in Germany used a combination of 30 different blood values that can be determined using an automated process. The team carried out a statistical evaluation of the blood parameters of healthy subjects and malaria patients.
Based on this they were able to identify a set of 30 blood values which presented quantifiable deviations from the norm in people suffering from the disease. Researchers then developed an algorithm that can be programmed into blood analysis devices already used in laboratories and clinics so that they recognise malaria “data fingerprint”. The new method enables the diagnosis of the disease with 97 percent accuracy. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), malaria claimed the lives of about 430,000 people throughout the world in 2015.