Project Lead(s): Naumih Noah
In Kenya, Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) affect more than 50% of the poorest population.
Bilharzia is a NTD with a number of chronic disabling infections, affecting more than a billion people worldwide, including in Kenya.
Diagnosis of bilharzia is usually performed by microscopic detection of eggs in urine or stool.
However, this method often delays the diagnosis and the treatment in clinical suspected patients and the sensitivity of the test varies, based on the severity of the infection.
The project team sought to develop a rapid and sensitive nano-based immunosensor for the detection of bilharzia in Kenya.
The overall goal was to develop nano kits that could be distributed to the endemic areas for early detection.
The team isolated soluble egg antigen (SEA) from bilharzia collected from the endemic areas and then developed antibodies (anti-SEA) that were then used to develop the nano-based immunosensor.
They conjugated and characterized the anti-SEA to nanoparticles and developed the chemistry of the nano-immunosensor by studying the interaction between the conjugate with the SEA, using an electrochemical method.
The sensitivity of the nano-immunosensor was tested using stool samples from patients.
The nano-immunosensor was transferred onto strips, to be used in the nano kits for distribution to diagnose bilharzia.
Work to fully develop the nano kits has not been completed.
Strategies to do this, such as identifying the casing material for the strips and also the transducer for the analytical signal, are underway.
A key achievement of the work to date has been the formation of collaborations, which have been instrumental in the isolation of the key analyte needed.
The team plans to apply for Phase II Transition To Scale funding to develop nano kits, which can be distributed to endemic areas for early, rapid and sensitive detection of bilharzias before infection reaches the disabling stage.