The newest entry in the fight against malaria is, believe it or not, a watch. It’s a wristwatch, to be exact, and it is the brainchild of South African inventor Gervan Lubbe.
The wristwatch, which is battery-operated and water-resistant, will be available to markets worldwide in February, and experts estimate that it could keep millions of people from suffering from malaria. According to the World Health Organization, the devastating disease kills more than 1 million people and infects 300 million more every year.
So how does a wristwatch prevent malaria? Well, four times every day, the watch pricks the wrist it is resting on and tests the blood for malaria parasites. If the parasite count is above 50, then the watch sounds an alarm and the face shows a picture of a mosquito. The user can then take three tablets within 48 hours in order to kill all traces of the parasite. Unlike some other devastating diseases, malaria can be eliminated before it turns deadly.
“It picks up the parasite and destroys it so early that the possibility of dying is absolutely zero and you don’t even feel the early cold symptoms,” Lubbe told Reuters recently.
Lubbe’s company, Gervans Trading, has already received orders exceeding 1.5 million for the handy wristwatch, mainly from corporations, governments, and aid organizations. The market price will be about US$280, which, experts point out, is much less than treating a person who develops the disease.