By Dennis Thompson
WEDNESDAY, Sept. 27, 2017 (HealthDay Information) — A brand new quick, straightforward and low cost “dipstick” take a look at for the Zika and dengue viruses may revolutionize public well being response to harmful tropical germs, a brand new examine studies.
The take a look at precisely diagnoses Zika and dengue and may inform the 2 mosquito-borne viruses aside, an space by which commercially out there checks now stumble, stated senior researcher Lee Gehrke, a professor with the MIT Institute for Medical Engineering and Science.
“In mild of the issues with Zika virus inflicting microcephaly [a genetic abnormality resulting in a smaller-than-normal head] and different defects in infants born to contaminated moms, it is crucial a pregnant lady would know if her fever is attributable to Zika virus or dengue virus,” stated Gehrke, who’s additionally a professor at Harvard Medical Faculty.
The brand new take a look at resembles a being pregnant take a look at strip, Gehrke famous. The strip accommodates antibodies that react to the presence of Zika or dengue virus, and gold nanoparticles that reply to the antibody response.
To make use of the take a look at, a medical skilled would dip the strip right into a tube of both blood serum or complete blood.
“If it’s a constructive take a look at, then we see a dot or a line on the take a look at that outcomes from seeing the gold nanoparticles that sign the antibodies recognizing the viral protein,” Gehrke stated.
The take a look at can inform Zika from dengue, and in addition can distinguish amongst 4 completely different strains of dengue, Gehrke added.
Zika and dengue each belong to the identical viral household, that are known as flaviviruses.
“They’re two intently associated viruses unfold by the identical mosquito,” stated co-researcher Kimberly Hamad-Schifferli, an affiliate professor of engineering with the College of Massachusetts in Boston.
The analysis workforce, which additionally included members from Mount Sinai Faculty of Drugs in New York Metropolis, developed the brand new take a look at as a result of present testing merchandise typically cross-react between Zika and dengue, offering a false constructive for Zika when the affected person truly has the opposite virus, Gehrke stated.
Researchers checked the accuracy of the take a look at by testing blood serum samples taken from individuals in areas the place Zika has hit hardest, together with Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, India, Mexico and Panama. Critical delivery defects attributable to Zika appeared for the primary time within the western hemisphere in 2015 in northern Brazil; then the epidemic swept outward.
“We validated the take a look at within the areas the place the virus is discovered, utilizing human serum from contaminated sufferers,” Gehrke stated. “This isn’t only a take a look at we carried out utilizing supplies in a laboratory. We truly traveled to the endemic areas.”
The take a look at proved 80 % to 90 % correct in detecting Zika and avoiding false positives, Hamad-Schifferli stated.
It is going to take a few 12 months to get the take a look at out in the marketplace in Zika-impacted areas, for the reason that expertise is predicated on current merchandise like being pregnant checks, Hamad-Schifferli stated.
The take a look at additionally is predicted to be very inexpensive. At present, materials prices are about $5 per strip, however Gehrke stated prices ought to decline as manufacturing will get rolling.
“Our goal is below $1 per strip, which we predict is affordable as soon as the antibody manufacturing is scaled up,” Gehrke stated. “The gold nanoparticles are already fairly cheap.”
Infectious illness skilled Dr. Amesh Adalja stated the brand new take a look at “will fulfill an amazing want and be of excessive worth.
“The supply of fast, delicate and particular diagnostic checks is essential for the identification, remedy, and management of infectious illness,” stated Adalja, a senior affiliate with the Johns Hopkins Heart for Well being Safety in Baltimore.
He added, ” fast antigen take a look at that meets this standards is possible for dengue and Zika — two clinically indistinguishable illnesses with completely different prognoses — is a serious step ahead.”
The brand new report seems Sept. 27 within the journal Science Translational Drugs.