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VHF Diagnostics

Denge and other haemorhagic fevers

Development of rapid field diagnostics for identification, control and management of haemorhagic fever outbreaks

EC contribution
: € 853 000
: 36 months
Starting date
: 01/12/2006
: viral haemorrhagic fevers, diagnostics, line assay, mobile real-time PCR
Project Number
: INCO-CT-2006-32180


The VHF Diagnostics project aims at developing and validating diagnostic tools for early viral haemorrhagic fever outbreak detection and control. A frontline line-assay carrying antigens of all African haemorrhagic fever viruses is to be developed and validated for widespread use in local hospitals. Line assays are third-generation (3G) immunoblots using purified recombinant proteins sprayed onto membranes irrespective of their molecular weight. This means that highly concentrated protein can be arranged onto membranes in the manner of a barcode.

There are no problems with contaminating extra bands, or with spacing of target molecules. This assay is easy to use and the results are easy to interpret. It is also cheap to produce and has a long shelf life. This tool will help to improve outbreak detection in Africa. The project includes a long-term field trial in local hospitals. A mobile integrated fluorescent real-time-PCR (F-RT-PCR) for outbreak investigation teams is also to be developed. It will consist of a panel of F-RTPCRs covering all haemorrhagic fever viruses, a robust simple nucleic acid extraction protocol and ready-to-use lyophilised PCR mixes. This tool will help outbreak investigation teams to improve their ability to manage and control haemorrhagic fever outbreaks.

A consortium of three European laboratories and four African laboratories will provide the expertise for the development, validation and adaptation to filed use of both tools.

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