As the previous article indicates, malaria is one of the most prevalent form of vector-borne diseases globally, causing high morbidity & mortality rates worldwide. Malaria-endemic regions are usually economically challenged and extremely cost conscious, where accessible, dependable diagnostic methods are urgently needed.
Microscopy, rapid diagnostic tests (RDT) and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) are the three common diagnostic methods for detecting malaria. Conventional microscopy of stained thick & thin blood smears, considered as gold standard, relies heavily on 24×7 availability of an expert observer to correctly identify parasites, which tends to cause missed cases of malaria infections. Though RDT and PCR are relatively more reliable, they have not gained popularity on account of higher cost.
Since complete blood count (CBC) and leukocyte differential count (DIFF) are the basic, most common tests in clinical laboratories, hematology analyzers that can screen for the presence of malaria parasites are a great boon for both potentially malaria-infected patients and today's busy diagnostic labs.
Mindray BC-6800 is a high end Auto Hematology Analyzer for CBC and WBC differentials. Utilizing a flow cytometric technique based on laser light scattering at two angles and fluorescence signals, termed the SF Cube 3D cellular analysis technology, it can effectively flag the presence of abnormal cells in the sample.
Click the clip below to see how 3D analysis works.
With "infected RBC?" flagging and two parameters "InR#" and "InR‰", Mindray BC-6800 was first-in-its-class to flag and give the number and ratio of the RBCs infected with malaria parasites in patient's sample. This creates the possibility to not only screen but also judge the severity of malaria infections.
With the rising number of red cells infected with malaria parasites, the number of yellow dots in the "InR" area increases proportionately.
The high efficiency of BC-6800 to screen for the presence of malaria parasites in patient blood has been evaluated and confirmed in the studies conducted jointly by Dr. Milind Bhide, Consultant Pathologist from Dr. BHIDE LABORATORY, Mumbai, India, and Mindray. The study, a follow up of the earlier experiment, was carried out at Dr. BHIDE LABORATORY, Mumbai, India on a total of 948 patients with symptoms suggestive of malaria infections. All patient samples were tested on Mindray BC-6800 to look for the "infected RBC?" flagging which was evaluated for its sensitivity, specificity & predictive value in screening for malaria parasites.
The results were reported as follow:
The conclusion reached by the study panel was that, "infected RBC?" flagging provided by BC-6800 demonstrated excellent sensitivity, specificity to help analyzer user screen for presence of malaria parasites; since the "infected RBC?" is a standard feature on BC-6800 not requiring special reagents, in resources-limited busy labs, the analyzer could serve as a cost-efficient malaria screening tool and provide safety from missed malaria cases in regions relatively free of malaria. The report poster was published by Bhide M. & Parekh V. at ISLH Congress 2014.
1. Screening for Malaria — using Mindray BC-6800 automated hematology analyzer, poster presented by Bhide M. & Parekh V. at ISLH Congress 2012
2. Automated Screening for Malaria parasites on Mindray BC-6800 hematology analyzer: a follow-up report