Advances in consumer electronics and affordable high functioning optics have led to renewed interest in the development and application of portable microscopes for the remote diagnosis of diseases such as malaria. Indeed, better tools for malaria diagnosis are necessary to combat increasing rates of false-negative diagnosis and drug resistance. In this work, the capabilities and utility of a portable, multimodal microscopy system designed for malaria diagnosis are explored. The system, which combines off-the-shelf optical components with a Raspberry Pi for data collection and a microfluidic cartridge for sample preparation, is capable of capturing brightfield, fluorescent, and cross-polarized images of thin blood smears. Parameters for each imaging modality are defined and related to their potential diagnostic utility. Samples of Plasmodium falciparum cultures were stained either with fluorophores or with a dual Giemsa-fluorophore procedure and examined using the portable and gold-standard microscopes. Preliminary results indicate that the microscope is capable of nearly diffraction limited performance and can distinguish rings, trophozoites, and schizonts in fluorescence and brightfield modes along with hemozoin crystals in cross-polarized mode. Parasitemia measurements for simulated mixed-stage, severe infections show strong agreement with Giemsa-stained gold-standard measurements. If cost and durability limitations can be overcome, this microscopy system may be able to augment malaria-screening rapid diagnostic tests to enable the more precise distribution of antimalarial medications at the point-of-care.
Paul Gordon, Masih Ghorayshi, Vinicius P. Venancio, Susanne U. Mertens-Talcott, and Gerard Coté, "Diagnostic utility of a portable multimodal microscope for malaria treatment at the point-of-care," Proc. SPIE 10869, Optics and Biophotonics in Low-Resource Settings V, 108690X (Presented at SPIE BiOS: February 03, 2019; Published: 4 March 2019); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2510593.6008538155001.
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