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Researchers are developing a rapid test device to test dengue, malaria, chikungunya in 30min

The device can also be used to detect the viruses circulating in the community by testing mosquitoes.

health Updated: Jun 30, 2017 12:48 IST
The new device in making will be able to detect multiple mosquito-borne infections in 30 minutes (Shutterstock)

A US-based research institute is developing a prototype device that will be able to test for several mosquito-borne viral diseases such as dengue, chikungunya, zika and West Nile in 30 minutes flat.

The device will be able to detect the viruses in using the patients’ blood or urine. It can also be used to detect the viruses circulating in the community by testing the mosquitoes.

“In this bio-sensing platform, when the viral RNA gets in touch with the electrode material, the surface electrical properties of the electrode change. If there is no virus present in the patient sample, there is no change in the electrical properties and the test will read negative,” said Professor Lia Stanciu, one of the researchers at Purdue University, which is conducting the research.

The prototype being made by the researchers at Purdue can also be used as a personal testing kit.

“Most of these diseases have mild symptoms if complications are not present. The significance of a personal testing kit is in pregnant women, due to the possibility of birth defects,” said Professor Stanciu.

The device will be able to give results within 30 minutes, unlike laboratory testing that may take days. Currently, the rapid tests that are available for dengue, are not very accurate and tend to give false positives 50% of the time. Hence, a laboratory Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test is done to detect these diseases.

In India, mosquito-borne viral diseases such as dengue and chikungunya are endemic to various regions and now, three cases of zika have also been detected. A device like the one being developed at Purdue will help in easy and fast detection of these diseases, leading to better surveillance and in turn, better planning of preventive measures.

In 2016, India had 12,9166 cases of dengue and 245 deaths and 64,057 cases of chikungunya.

First Published: Jun 30, 2017 11:07 IST