A pilot study demonstrating the identification of Trypanosoma brucei gambiense and T. b. rhodesiense in vectors using a multiplexed high-resolution me

Lead Research Organisation: Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
Department Name: Vector Biology


Human African Trypanosomiasis (HAT) is a potentially fatal parasitic infection caused by the trypanosome sub-species Trypanosoma brucei gambiense and T. b. rhodesiense transmitted by tsetse flies. HAT surveillance is reliant on active and passive case detection and with case numbers nearing elimination in many foci there is a need for simple and sustainable screening methods. Here, we describe a proof of principle application of a novel qPCR assay designed to detect both human pathogenic trypanosome species in tsetse. Assay evaluation was carried out on 96 wild-caught tsetse previously identified to be positive for T. brucei s. l. of which two were known to be positive for T. b. rhodesiense. The assay was found to be highly specific with no cross-reactivity with non-target trypanosome species and the assay limit of detection was 104 tryps/mL. The qPCR successfully identified three T. b. rhodesiense positive flies, in agreement with the reference PCRs. This assay provides an alternative to running multiple PCRs when screening for pathogenic sub-species of T. brucei s. l. and produces quantitative results in less than 2 hours. This method could provide a component of a simple and efficient method of screening large numbers of tsetse flies in known HAT foci, in areas at risk of recrudescence or threatened by the changing distribution of HAT.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
MR/N013514/1 30/09/2016 29/09/2025
1964757 Studentship MR/N013514/1 30/09/2017 30/03/2022
Description Investigation of Human African Trypanosomiasis rapid diagnostic test positivity rates in North Western Uganda 
Organisation Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND)
Country Switzerland 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Analysis of Human African Trypanosomiasis rapid diagnostic data with a view to investigate spatial distribution of positive tests in North Western Uganda.
Collaborator Contribution FIND provided rapid diagnostic data from the region over the last 4 years.
Impact FIND were provided with a report of the analysis conducted and resulting findings.
Start Year 2018