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

June 26, 2013 by Marissa Gebhard, University of Notre Dame

(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

New study offers insights on genetic indicators of COPD risk

January 16, 2018
Researchers have discovered that genetic variations in the anatomy of the lungs could serve as indicators to help identify people who have low, but stable, lung function early in life, and those who are particularly at risk ...

Previous influenza virus exposures enhance susceptibility in another influenza pandemic

January 16, 2018
While past exposure to influenza A viruses often builds immunity to similar, and sometimes different, strains of the virus, Canadian researchers are calling for more attention to exceptions to that rule.

Don't hold your nose and close your mouth when you sneeze, doctors warn

January 15, 2018
Pinching your nose while clamping your mouth shut to contain a forceful sneeze isn't a good idea, warn doctors in the journal BMJ Case Reports.

New antifungal provides hope in fight against superbugs

January 12, 2018
Microscopic yeast have been wreaking havoc in hospitals around the world—creeping into catheters, ventilator tubes, and IV lines—and causing deadly invasive infection. One culprit species, Candida auris, is resistant ...

Dengue takes low and slow approach to replication

January 11, 2018
A new study reveals how dengue virus manages to reproduce itself in an infected person without triggering the body's normal defenses. Duke researchers report that dengue pulls off this hoax by co-opting a specialized structure ...

Different strains of same bacteria trigger widely varying immune responses

January 11, 2018
Genetic differences between different strains of the same pathogenic bacterial species appear to result in widely varying immune system responses, according to new research published in PLOS Pathogens.

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.