A portable brightfield and fluorescence microscope toward automated malarial parasitemia quantification in thin blood smears. Academic Article uri icon


  • Malaria is often most endemic in remote regions where diagnostic microscopy services are unavailable. In such regions, the use of rapid diagnostic tests fails to quantify parasitemia measurements which reflect the concentration of Plasmodium parasites in the bloodstream. Thus, novel diagnostic and monitoring technologies capable of providing such information could improve the quality of treatment, monitoring, and eradication efforts. A low-cost, portable microscope for gathering quantitative parasitemia data from fluorescently stained thin blood smears is presented. The system employs bimodal imaging using components optimized for cost savings, system robustness, and optical performance. The microscope is novel for its use of monochromatic visible illumination paired with a long working distance singlet aspheric objective lens that can image both traditionally mounted and cartridge-based blood smears. Eight dilutions of red blood cells containing laboratory cultured wild-type P. falciparum were used to create thin smears which were stained with SYBR Green-1 fluorescent dye. Two subsequent images are captured for each field-of-view, with brightfield images providing cell counts and fluorescence images providing parasite localization data. Results indicate the successful resolution of sub-micron sized parasites, and parasitemia measurements from the prototype microscope display linear correlation with measurements from a benchtop microscope with a limit of detection of 0.18 parasites per 100 red blood cells.

published proceedings

  • PLoS One

altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Gordon, P. D., De Ville, C., Sacchettini, J. C., & Cot, G. L.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Gordon, Paul D||De Ville, Courtney||Sacchettini, James C||Coté, Gerard L

editor list (cited editors)

  • Dao, M.

publication date

  • January 2022