Zika: Novel point-of-care molecular diagnostics for the simultaneous diagnosis of Zika, chikungunya and dengue infections in Latin America.

Lead Research Organisation: Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
Department Name: UNLISTED


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Technical Summary

The Americas are experiencing simultaneous arbovirus epidemics which are transmitted by
the same vectors and have overlapping clinical presentation. The difficulties experienced in
confirming the role of Zika as a potential teratogenic pathogen and understanding the risk of
Guillain-Barre have demonstrated the deficiencies of current diagnostics for epidemiological
investigations and clinical management [1].
Until recently, dengue infections were identified by confirming the first few clinical cases in
reference laboratories; all subsequent cases were assumed to be due to the same virus. This
approach no longer works as several arboviruses coexist in the same populations and assays
suitable for the rapid confirmation of infection in patients at the primary health care level are
We propose to develop sensitive and specific assays to identify Zika, chikungunya and
dengue simultaneously in a platform suitable for use at the primary health care level. Assays
will build on dengue and chikungunya assays developed at LSTM and public domain CDC
primers and probes for Zika. These assays will be adapted to the BioGene QuRapID
instrument, which is a platform initially designed for detection of bacteria and subsequently
successfully adapted to an RT-QPCR approach for detection of Ebola. The system is able to
process blood samples directly without DNA/RNA extraction and detects RNA targets without
extraction steps within 35 minutes.
On completion of the project we will have developed point-of-care molecular assays that are
rapid, sensitive and specific, and suitable for the diagnosis and clinical management of
populations at risk of arboviruses infections in Latin America.




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Edwards T (2016) Co-infections with Chikungunya and Dengue Viruses, Guatemala, 2015. in Emerging infectious diseases

Description Contribution towards assessment of rapid and safe diagnostic assays for Lassa Fever in
Amount £49,000 (GBP)
Funding ID ZK/16-025 
Organisation Medical Research Council (MRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2018 
End 03/2019
Title Test performance profiles for chikungunya 
Description We prepared dengue and chikungunya Test Performance Profiles (TPP) and share them with the Partnership for Dengue Control. Please notice there is no option to classify TPPs. 
Type Of Material Data analysis technique 
Year Produced 2015 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Discussion of the TPPs for chikungunya and Zika viruses. 
URL http://www.controldengue.org/
Description Industrial collaboration with BioGene 
Organisation BioGene
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Our team developed the probes and sequences to be used in the molecular assays for dengue viruses 1-4, chikungunya and Zika.
Collaborator Contribution BioGene provided access to specialist software to optimize the assays and an open platform for the development of the assays for the BioGene platform QRapid.
Impact Ongoing. It will result in the development of multiplexed and rapid molecular tests for the diagnosis of dengue (1-4), chikungunya and dengue that are suitable to use by laboratories without PCR facilities/
Start Year 2016