RENO, Nev. A new rapid test to diagnose melioidosis, a difficult infection to treat and classified as a biothreat by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is being optimized and tested by University of Nevada School of Medicine researcher David AuCoin.
A $600,000 National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases grant through the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program recognizes the potential of AuCoin's work and supports making the new rapid test for point-of-care diagnosis of melioidosis available to countries where the disease is endemic, and expanding.
Melioidosis, also called Whitmore's disease, is predominately an infectious disease of tropical climates, especially in Southeast Asia and northern Australia where it is widespread. The bacteria causing melioidosis are found in contaminated water and soil. It is spread to humans and animals through direct contact with the contaminated source and has a high mortality rate.
"We have a prototype of the product in Thailand and Australia now, regions that are hardest hit, to evaluate it's effectiveness in endemic settings," AuCoin said. "There is no validated diagnostic product for melioidosis, patient samples must now be cultured, which takes three to seven days in order to diagnose the disease. Unfortunately, melioidosis can kill you well before the diagnosis is confirmed."
With the two-year Phase I STTR grant, AuCoin's laboratory is collaborating with InBios International of Seattle, Wash. on development of the Active Melioidosis Detect (AMD) test. They both are working closely with experts in the endemic areas of Thailand and Australia who are currently evaluating the test with different sample patient types.
"Results so far are very encouraging," AuCoin said. "We produced a monoclonal antibody to identify the Burkholderia pseudomallei bacterium, which causes melioidosis, and then introduced it into a prototype lateral flow imm
|Contact: Mike Wolterbeek|
University of Nevada, Reno