Nikhil Gopal

Malaria Monitoring On the Go

Nikhil Gopal, USA Global finalist, 13-15

Nikhil (15), a student living in New Jersey, had a serious family health scare when his aunt nearly died of a particularly resistant malaria strain in 2015. Malaria kills hundreds of thousands of people worldwide annually, mainly in less developed countries like Africa and India. Nikhil’s aunt lives in a rural part of India, and while she was able to receive basic diagnosis and treatment, her doctor did not have access to laboratories that could determine how much of the malaria parasite she had in her blood, and to what degree her medications were working to remove them. His aunt almost didn’t recover because of this, so Nikhil was determined to create an affordable solution to test for more than just whether or not a patient has malaria. Expanding on the basic principles of enzyme analysis used in immunology, he built a test for analyzing malaria levels in the blood that requires no lab and minimal power: all you need is a smartphone and $50 worth of materials. Nikhil is currently in talks with the World Health Organization and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and hopes to share his malaria testing solution with the world.