Project Lead(s): Maggy Sikulu
Accurate detection of arboviruses in mosquitoes is critical in determining the force of infection, monitoring the efficacy of interventions, and allocating appropriate resources to transmission hotspots. To date, no technique for arbovirus detection has been shown practical, cost effective, and rapid enough to be scaled up for arbovirus surveillance by mosquito-borne disease control programs.
Our team proposes to test the ability of near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) for the surveillance of arbovirus infections in mosquitoes. NIRS is cheap, rapid and non-destructive and therefore has the potential to improve the speed and capacity of Zika/dengue control program evaluations. This technology shows considerable practical advantages over conventional surveillance methods. In the current study, laboratory-reared Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes will be infected with Zika and dengue viruses. NIRS will be applied to detect these infections and will be validated with RT-PCR. The accuracy, time and cost effectiveness of NIRS will be compared against conventional techniques.