The 'gold' standard: A rapid, cheap method of detecting dengue virus

June 26, 2013 by Marissa Gebhard

(Medical Xpress)—University of Notre Dame biologists are reporting the development of an easy-to-use, low-cost method of detecting dengue virus in mosquitoes based on gold nanoparticles. Their research is published in the Virology Journal this week.

The assay they have developed is able to detect lower levels of the virus than current tests, and is easy to transport and use in remote regions.

Half of the world's population is at risk of dengue . The disease infects 50 million to 100 million people per year. Approximately one half-million of those affected require hospitalization, and many of the infected children will die. The is one of the most dangerous viruses in the world with no available vaccine, and it does not respond to . The main method of controlling infection remains the destruction of the standing water where the mosquitoes breed.

It is consequently vitally important to have a test that can be used on-site and that does not require specialized equipment in order to determine if mosquitoes are carrying .

Researchers from Notre Dame used a DNAzyme linked to that recognized a short sequence of the viral RNA genome common to all four types of dengue. Once bound, adding magnesium and heating to 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 F) causes the DNAZyme to cut the RNA, leaving the free to clump together. This aggregation can easily be seen as a red to clear change.

The components of this test are stable at temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius (86 F), which means that they are easy to store and transport, and the assay is able to detect as few as 10 viruses in each sample containing 10-20 .

The ultimate goal is to detect in just a single infected mosquito or cell. James Carter, the lead author of this study, explained, "Full development of our novel DDZ-AuNP detection method will provide a practical, rapid and low-cost alternative for the detection of DENV in mosquito cells and tissues, and possibly infected patient serum, in a matter of minutes with little to no specialized training required."

Explore further: New portable tool detects dengue infected mosquitoes in the field

Related Stories

New portable tool detects dengue infected mosquitoes in the field

May 21, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- A new portable tool to detect dengue virus-infected mosquitoes will help reduce the likelihood of human infections around the world.

Study defines level of dengue virus needed for transmission

May 13, 2013
Researchers have identified the dose of dengue virus in human blood that is required to infect mosquitoes when they bite. Mosquitoes are essential for transmitting the virus between people so the findings have important implications ...

Dengue spreads in Madeira archipelago: officials

October 10, 2012
Dengue has spread in Portugal's Madeira archipelago since it appeared last week and there are now 18 confirmed cases, health officials said Wednesday.

Specialized mosquitoes may fight tropical disease

August 24, 2011
Scientists have made a promising advance for controlling dengue fever, a tropical disease spread by mosquito bites. They've rapidly replaced mosquitoes in the wild with skeeters that don't spread the dengue virus.

Recommended for you

Researchers report new system to study chronic hepatitis B

July 25, 2017
Scientists from Princeton University's Department of Molecular Biology have successfully tested a cell-culture system that will allow researchers to perform laboratory-based studies of long-term hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections. ...

Research examines lung cell turnover as risk factor and target for treatment of influenza pneumonia

July 24, 2017
Influenza is a recurring global health threat that, according to the World Health Organization, is responsible for as many as 500,000 deaths every year, most due to influenza pneumonia, or viral pneumonia. Infection with ...

Scientists propose novel therapy to lessen risk of obesity-linked disease

July 24, 2017
With obesity related illnesses a global pandemic, researchers propose in the Journal of Clinical Investigation using a blood thinner to target molecular drivers of chronic metabolic inflammation in people eating high-fat ...

Raccoon roundworm—a hidden human parasite?

July 24, 2017
The raccoon that topples your trashcan and pillages your garden may leave more than just a mess. More likely than not, it also contaminates your yard with parasites—most notably, raccoon roundworms (Baylisascaris procyonis).

Google searches can be used to track dengue in underdeveloped countries

July 20, 2017
An analytical tool that combines Google search data with government-provided clinical data can quickly and accurately track dengue fever in less-developed countries, according to new research published in PLOS Computational ...

MRSA emerged years before methicillin was even discovered

July 19, 2017
Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) emerged long before the introduction of the antibiotic methicillin into clinical practice, according to a study published in the open access journal Genome Biology. It was ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.