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New urine tests identify causes of river blindness
The new urine test was developed by a team of researchers to identify parasites that cause river blindness, also known as onchocerciasis. It is a tropical disease that affects millions of people around the world. The results of the study were published in the Journal of ACS Infectious Diseases.
New non-invasive tests can provide an inexpensive way to determine whether a person has an infection in real time, which will provide public health officials and doctors with critical information to track outbreaks and treat current infections.
“The new test strips developed help identify parasites that cause river blindness, which may help doctors and public health officials identify and treat outbreaks.”
“River blindness affects individuals in Africa and Latin America, and because many of these endemic areas are difficult to obtain, the field needs a cheap point of care to monitor the disease,” Kim Janda, Ph said. .D. , Ely R. Callaway Jr. Professor of Chemistry, member of the Skaggs Institute of Chemical Biology in Scripps Research.
River blindness is a filariasis, such as elephantiasis, that occurs when the parasite Onchocerca volvulus occupies the skin. The adult took out the baby (microfilaria) at an alarming rate and was eventually re-transmitted by the black fly bite. Microfilariae can migrate to the eye and die, releasing toxins and causing inflammation. Without medical intervention, people with this disease will slowly become blind.
Janda said that the monitoring and evaluation of onchocerciasis is a necessary step for people to lead the elimination. To know if these efforts are effective, doctors need to be able to show when disease spread is interrupted. The current gold standard for detecting parasites is the "skin shear" biopsy. However, shear is usually an insensitive indicator of infection and the sensitivity of skin shear decreases as the density of microfilaria in the skin decreases. Other tests cannot distinguish between past and present infections.
Currently, the onchocerciasis elimination program relies primarily on large-scale drug administration of ivermectin treatment to inhibit and ultimately eliminate the spread of Onchocerca volvulus. If there is no means to assess whether the infection persists, it is difficult to assess whether the preventive measures are effective and whether it is safe to stop taking the drugs.
The new lateral flow measurement takes ten years to develop, but it can now be manufactured and tested on site. The key to the success of this assay is the design of designer antibodies for the detection of unique biomarkers that occur only when the human host metabolizes helminth neurotransmitters called tyramine. Humans then secrete this biomarker in the urine.
The negative of the "Dipstick" test shows the colored lines in the test. Got a parasite? The test did not show any rows.
Unlike skin biopsies, Janda said that this non-invasive test is the first use of metabolites produced by adults. In addition, the low-cost design of the dipstick, combined with the smartphone app, will provide automated image processing that can ultimately translate into key gaps in river blindness surveillance and treatment.