Fig. 1: Automated equipment allows a digital camera connected to a computer to take high-definition images of malaria parasites in thick blood films. The high-quality images allow detection of structural differences between parasites — such as P. falciparum and P. vivax seen above — leading to quick species identification.
© 2013 Sissades Tongsima, BIOTEC
“The type of malaria-causing parasite present in a blood sample, and the developmental stage of the parasite, must be accurately determined in order to prescribe appropriate medication,” explains Tongsima. “Automated techniques have been established for thin blood films, but these hold fewer parasites and can yield misleading results.”
Tongsima and colleagues developed a method for taking high-definition images of thick blood films using a digital camera mounted on existing microscope equipment (Fig. 1).
“We devised a motorized unit for controlling the actions of the microscope stage and movement and autofocus of the lenses,” explains Tongsima. “The resulting images are processed using image analysis software via a computer linked to the digital camera.”
The team’s image-processing techniques allow rapid classification of separate species by revealing the developmental features specific to different parasites.
This article originally appeared on A-IMBN Research.
Posted on 11 April 2013