Our recent paper titled “A review on innovative optical devices for the diagnosis of human soil-transmitted helminthiasis and schistosomiasis: from research and development to commercialization” has been published in Parasitology
Abstract Diagnosis of soil-transmitted helminth (STH) and schistosome infections relies largely on conventional microscopy which has limited sensitivity, requires highly trained personnel and is error-prone. Rapid advances in miniaturization of optical systems, sensors and processors have enhanced research and development of digital and automated microscopes suitable for the detection of these diseases in resource-limited settings. While some studies have reported proof-of-principle results, others have evaluated the performance of working prototypes in field settings. The extensive commercialization of these innovative devices has, however, not yet been achieved. This review provides an overview of recent publications (2010–2022) on innovative field applicable optical devices which can be used for the diagnosis of STH and schistosome infections. Using an adapted technology readiness level (TRL) scale taking into account the WHO target product profile (TPP) for these diseases, the developmental stages of the devices were ranked to determine the readiness for practical applications in field settings. From the reviewed 18 articles, 19 innovative optical devices were identified and ranked. Almost all of the devices (85%) were ranked with a TRL score below 8 indicating that, most of the devices are not ready for commercialization and field use. The potential limitations of these innovative devices were discussed. We believe that the outcome of this review can guide the end-to-end development of automated digital microscopes aligned with the WHO TPP for the diagnosis of STH and schistosome infections in resource-limited settings.