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Vapor "Nanobubbles" Detect Malaria Through Skin

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A noninvasive technology can accurately detect even low levels of malaria infection through the skin in seconds with a laser scanner that requires no dyes, diagnostic chemicals, or needles.

As reported in a preclinical study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the technology detected a single malaria-infected cell among a million normal cells with zero false-positive readings.

The technology uses a low-powered laser that creates tiny vapor “nanobubbles” inside malaria-infected cells. The bursting bubbles have a unique acoustic signature that allows for an extremely sensitive diagnosis.

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