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Title: In vivo microscopy detection of hemozoin for the needle-free diagnosis of malaria

Jennifer Burnett, PhD Candidate

Current malaria diagnostic tests rely on a finger-prick blood sample, requiring one time use consumables that are too costly for resource limited regions. We have developed a non-invasive method to rapidly diagnose malaria by detecting the malaria parasite as it circulates through the bloodstream, eliminating the need for a blood sample. In this approach, we optically detect hemozoin, the crystalline nanoparticle by-product generated by the malaria parasite. Using the Microvascular Microscope (MVM), a portable battery-powered microscope amenable for use at the point-of-care, vessels are located and hemozoin is detected by narrowband illumination of the Q-band absorbance peaks of hemoglobin and hemozoin respectively. The use of in vivo microscopy allows for visualization of physiological parameters that may affect disease severity, such as microvascular dysfunction and parasite-endothelium interactions. Using hemozoin absorbance, we demonstrated the ability to detect and quantify hemozoin over four orders of magnitude of clinically relevant levels of parasitemia in vivo.

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