New Dunedin technology is changing the way we treat intestinal worms

Dunedin company, Techion has developed new technology that could make diagnosing intestinal parasitic infections, commonly known as worms, easier.

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Originally designed to diagnose animals, the kiwi tech could change how we treat the common gut infection. Source: 1 NEWS

Techion's managing director, Greg Mirams says they’ve effectively "removed the microscope from the process of diagnosing parasitic disease."

Originally designed to test sheep poo, it's now being used in a global trail funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

It's a world first and a break-through in the 'One Health' movement to apply the same principals to health management for people and animals.

"One and a half billion people are estimated to be infected with these worms, so up to twenty five percent of the world’s population," says Professor Kurt Krause from the University of Otago.

The parasites are common in developing countries but can be difficult to spot, and mass treatment programmes are often undertaken "just in case".

"If we can get better diagnostics then we can start to move towards a more targeted treatment and treat the children that are requiring it and not treat the kids that don't," says Mr Mirams.

It's hoped the technology will soon replace the current smear and microscopic test, with images able to be stored online and viewed by any medical expert within seconds.