Abstract

Fast and automated diagnostic devices are bound to play a significant role in the on-going efforts toward malaria eradication. In this article, we present the realization of a portable device for quantitative malaria diagnostic testing at the point-of-care. The device measures optical absorbance (at λ=405  nm) of single cells flowing through a custom-designed microfluidic channel. The device incorporates the required functionality to align the microfluidic channel with the optical interrogation region. Variation in optical absorbance is used to differentiate red blood cells (both healthy and infected) from other cellular components of whole blood. Using the instrument, we have measured single-cell optical absorbance levels of different types of cells present in blood. High-throughput single-cell-level measurements facilitated by the device enable detection of malaria, even from a few microliters of blood. Further, we demonstrate the detection of malaria from a suspension containing all cellular components of whole blood, which validates its usability in real-world diagnostic scenarios.

© 2016 Optical Society of America

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