Project Lead(s): Misaki Wayengera
In 2014, the largest outbreak of Ebola in history occurred, resulting in over 8,000 deaths from 21,000 cases in West Africa.
This was and continues to be a humanitarian catastrophe.
Early detection of Ebola is critical, both to improving the chances of patient survival and, more importantly, in preventing the spread of the disease once a patient has been infected.
Currently, however, there is no low-cost, point-of-care diagnostic test for this disease. Often, the only intervention that is available is to quarantine all patients with a high fever or other symptoms.
Dr. Misaki Wayengera has, over the past four years, been developing an Ebola Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) that can be deployed in the field, resulting in quick diagnosis of infected individuals and, through rapid diagnosis, preventing the spread of the disease and increasing the chances of patient survival.
This test would be available at a very low cost ($1–$2), which would greatly increase its affordability and, by extension, its accessibility in low-resource countries.
The research team has generated (using prior identified proprietary conserved epitopes) a diverse library of mice-derived monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) targeting the surface glycoprotein (Gp) of both Ebola and Marburg. The ability of over 10 selected sandwich-options of Enzyme Immuno-Assays (EIA), based on these MAbs to capture purified recombinant Gp cloned and expressed in HEK mammalian cells, has been affirmed .
Ongoing work on the project will validate (i) the 10 EIA sandwich options – and (ii) prototype lateral flow tests (LFTs: to be manufactured by LifeAssay Diagnostics Pty Ltd) – using acute samples within the NICD BSL-4 facility in Johanesburg, South Africa.
Venture Capital Investment is needed to enable the prototyping, manufacture and marketing.