Multiplexed Rapid Test Kit for Leishmania Detection in Sand Flies

Cutaneous leishmaniasis in Colombia

Source: Subdirección epidemiología. Informe de gestión 2003 Instituto Nacional de Salud

Leishmaniasis is a sand fly-borne parasitic infection endemic to tropical and subtropical regions. Sand flies that carry these pathogens can infect humans. One of the ways to prevent infection is to practice good pest management techniques. In order to identify and eradicate infected sand fly populations, pest control personnel need a simple, field-usable test kit that can detect the sand flies carrying (and capable of transmitting) Leishmania species. Lateral flow test strips (LFTS) format is attractive because all the reagents required for testing are incorporated on the test strip itself. The sensitivity of these test strips, however, is only moderate and usually a single pathogen is measured using these test strips. We have addressed these challenges by incorporating multiple quantum dots as part of a Lateral flow test strips. This approach has allowed the ability to multiplex the assays and also to achieve very high sensitivity (quantum dots emit bright light when illuminated with long UV light). Intelligent Optical System (IOS) has also developed proprietary protein stabilization technologies that currently can retain activity at 50°C for two months. This chemistry with further optimization may allow for enhanced stability in the future extending to 2 years. Thus the benefits of a LFTS are retained and the previous limitations can be mitigated. This project is a collaborative effort to develop a novel LFTS assay format for a simple, field-usable rapid test kit for simultaneous analysis of multiple Leishmania species.