Project Lead(s): Lidya Chaidir
Dengue fever is the most common cause of acute illness requiring hospitalization in Indonesia.
There is a need for an appropriate tool to confirm dengue in fever patients at the primary care level, to readily differentiate them from those with other, less-dangerous illnesses.
While diagnosis of dengue can be confirmed using NS1 antigens, this approach is very expensive and has a low sensitivity in high endemic settings.
Molecular diagnosis with ‘Reverse Transcriptase-PCR’ is considered more reliable and sensitive, but testing can currently only be performed in a well-equipped laboratory.
The aim of the project was to develop and introduce a point-of-care dengue molecular assay for use in primary healthcare facilities, such as remote primary healthcare centres and small district hospitals in Indonesia.
The approach was based on use of an low-cost, open-source OpenPCR platform, combined with lateral flow detection technology, making the PCR results easier to read.
The project team hybridized PCR product with dengue probes, dropped it onto the membrane sticks (with gold conjugate on it) and added the running buffer. The reactions gave positive signals for all dengue serotypes.
Compared with a standard PCR machine, the OpenPCR machine yielded inferior results.
In addition, the testing of the lateral flow assay yielded weak signals to each dengue serotype, showing a need for more optimization.
While the team did manage to optimize the different components necessary to develop a working prototype of a point-of-care molecular test for dengue, the project did not reach the point of developing a functional lateral flow test and field testing it.