A device invented by Kolkata scientists that can detect anaemia, jaundice and oxygen deficiency in a newborn all at one go, without having to prick the baby to draw blood, is in the process of getting international patent. The device, the validation of which has been carried out at the sick newborn care unit (SNCU) at NRS Medical College and Hospital, has been used on about 1,500 babies.
Named AJO (anaemia, jaundice and oxygen deficiency), the non-invasive device is developed by scientists Animesh Haldar, Aniruddha Adhikari and Ria Ghosh under the supervision of professor Samir Kumar Pal at SN Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences.
Based on the principle of spectrometry that uses wavelength of white light reflection, AJO determines the bilirubin level and the red blood cell count to diagnose the three conditions. When white light is shone on the baby’s thumbnail, it reaches the blood vessels below the nail bed and the device reads the colour and volume of the light reflected from the nail. “It detects the reflection of light thrown back through the optical fibre and analyse the spectroscopic signal for anaemia, jaundice and hypoxia in 0.5 seconds,” Pal said.
The AJO detects the bilirubin level from the volume of yellow light reflected, anaemia from the volume of redness and for hypoxia, it calculates the ratio between two wavelengths lying in the green spectrum of light. The monitor of the device displays values of all the three readings, showing the results instantly.
“Conventionally, a newborn has to be pricked several times to draw blood samples. This non-invasive device is ideal for newborns as it spares them the needle,” said Dr Ashim Mallick, SNCU in-charge at NRS, working with doctors Mukut Banerjee, Srabani Mandal, Arnab Bhattacharya and Nilanajana Ghosh on the project.
A team from Brazil visited NRS a few months ago to check the device. But the research institute has to wait for the international patent before any deal with an overseas organisation. “With encouragement from institute director Samit Kumar Ray, we have been trying to devise efficient gadgets like this one,” Pal added.
Source: Times of India