Next Generation Molecular Diagnostics for Emerging Viral DiseasesPublic Health


This project seeks to develop a non-invasive and rapid diagnostic test for West Nile and Dengue Viruses in blood samples.


  • A new multiplexed MS-based diagnostic technology for detection and quantification of DENV, WNV and ZIKV have been created.
  • The work has led to a new technology licensing opportunity, and new invention disclosures.
  • It has also led to Dr. Francois Jean, the Canadian Principal Investigator, being increasingly recognized as a world leader – he has as a result of the success of this project become been invited as a founding member and Executive Board member of the new Canadian Network of Scientific Platforms – CNSP-RCPS


Researchers are sharing knowledge of project outcomes at several conferences and symposiums across Canada, USA, and Europe.  Progress on Dengue research has led to a new research collaboration agreement with JPT Peptides Technologies for developing novel mass spectrometry-based diagnostic technology for detecting Zika virus infection.


The global health burdens of emerging and re-emerging viral diseases such as West Nile fever and dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) are dramatically increasing. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Canada recorded the third highest number of West Nile virus (WNV) cases in 2012; moreover, about 2.5 billion people are now at risk of dengue virus (DENV) infection worldwide with an estimated 390-million dengue cases annually, of which approximately 30% occur in India. WNV infection can lead to neuroinvasive disease and DENV infection and progress to life-threatening DHF; rapid and reliable diagnosis is therefore critical. However, current diagnostic tools are limited in their sensitivity, specificity, and multiplexing capabilities for detecting and identifying WNV and the four DENV serotypes circulating around the world. In light of these limitations, the WHO and the US Centers for Disease Control have stated that the development of early, rapid, and robust diagnostic methods for WNV and DENV should be research priorities.

In this IC-IMPACTS research program, Dr. Jean (UBC, Canada) and Dr. Chattopadhyay (NationWide, India) are leading a multidisciplinary team of distinguished investigators from Canada and India to develop and deliver a rapid, robust, and sensitive non-invasive multiplexing diagnostic test for detecting WNV and DENV in blood samples. The novel diagnostic technology will be validated and optimized using clinical samples obtained from Canadian and Indian patients who have been hospitalized with laboratory- confirmed WNV and DENV infections respectively. Upon delivery and deployment, this cutting-edge diagnostic for the detection of emerging and re-emerging viruses would have an enormous on-the-ground impact on healthcare in Canadian and Indian communities.

Project Team

Dr. Francois Jean, University of British Columbia
Dr. Leonard Foster, University of British Columbia
Dr. Mark Loeb, McMaster University
Dr. Santanu Chattopadhyay, Nationwide the Family Doctors


International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology
JPT Peptide Technologies
SISCAPA Assay Technologies
Bruker Daltonics Inc.

Current Number of Students: 11

Key Outcomes

Publications: 7
Presentations: 9
Patents: 1