ABOUT THE PROJECT

The research proposes to further refine the Accutas System (a system designed by the research team) for use in India to test patients for malaria, a parasitic infection that is deadly if left undiagnosed. We will expand the testing to discriminate different forms of malaria and identify infections that are resistant to certain drugs. Specifically, we wish to develop a multiplex assay that can detect the two widely prevalent malaria parasites, Plasmodium (P.) falciparum and P. vivax in a single infection.

RESEARCH ABSTRACT

The University of Alberta and Aquila Diagnostics Systems Inc. have developed a diagnostic system called the Accutas, which can test for infectious diseases at the point-of-care. The key innovation and intellectual property is based on ‘hydrogel PCR’ which enables advanced DNA and RNA testing to detect a pathogen in a patient sample, without the need for a lab. The test components are dried down within a simple slab of gel in a small, disposable tube. A blood sample is added to the tube and inserted into a portable instrument, with results in about an hour. The simplicity and low cost of the technology make it ideal for the diagnosis of infectious diseases in low-resource field settings.

Here we propose to further refine the Accutas System for use in India to test patients for malaria, a parasitic infection that is deadly if left undiagnosed. We will expand the testing to discriminate different forms of malaria and identify infections that are resistant to certain drugs. Specifically, we wish to develop a multiplex assay that can detect the two widely prevalent malaria parasites, Plasmodium (P.) falciparum and P. vivax in a single infection.  Furthermore, we propose to develop Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP)-based assays for diagnosing chloroquine-resistant (CQR) and artemisinin-resistant (ARTR) P. falciparum.  Since both the mixed parasite infection and CQR P. falciparum are widely prevalent in India, field evaluation of the multiplex assay for mixed species diagnostics and CQR-assay with the Accutas platform will be conducted in India.

Project Team

Dr. Stephanie Yanow, University of Alberta
Dr. Aparup Das, National Institute of Malaria Research

Partners 

University of Alberta
National Institute of Malaria Research
Aquila Diagnostic Systems Inc.

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