WATCH: Stony Brook U. Using Drones To Improve Healthcare In Madagascar

MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Long Island’s Stony Brook University is using emerging drone technology to improve the health care of people in remote parts of Madagascar.

University health workers have been in the island nation in the Indian Ocean off eastern Africa for nearly three decades.

Now they’ve teamed with a Michigan startup company called Vayu , Inc., to transport medical samples by drone for laboratory analysis. Samples are taken from patients in remote villages and flown to a clinic in as little as two hours.

The first successful test using drones that take off and land like helicopters happened in late July, when blood and stool samples were flown from a remote village in Madagascar to the University’s central research station on the island.

According to University officials, obtaining  samples for testing is an important step in the research process, but it is often hard to obtain materials from villagers who live in remote or hard-to-reach areas, where infrastructure for optimal road travel is limited.

University officials say they’re using the drones to help diagnosis ailments like tapeworm disease.

Ultimately, the plan is to deliver medications to patients in a timely manner.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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