A new use for mobile phones have been established by scientists in Rural Tanzania.They are being used to fight parasites that infect two billion people and result in malnutrition in children.
The scientists have developed a cheap microscope using a glass lens costing $8 USD, a strip of double-sided tape, and a cheap flashlight – altering an iPhone into a device that can detect intestinal worm infections in children.
“There’s been a lot of tinkering in the lab with mobile phone microscopes, but this is the first time the technology has been used in the field to diagnose intestinal parasites.”Isaac Bogoch, MD, an infectious disease specialist at Toronto General Hospital and the study’s lead author explained
The iPhone microscope was found to be not as sensitive as a light microscope, however, the scientists believe that with some changes it will come close. Bogoch commented,
“We think cell phone microscopes could soon become a valuable diagnostic tool in poor, remote regions where intestinal worms are a serious health problem, particularly in children.”
The scientists’ findings were published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, and evaluated 199 stool samples of children using their unique device.
The kids participating in the trial on Pemba Island, Tanzania, were undergoing different treatments for eliminating intestinal worms.