Researchers in Singapore have developed a paper-based disposable device that will allow dengue-specific antibodies to be easily detected from saliva within 20 minutes.
The rapid diagnostic kit can detect a key dengue antibody from saliva that is present in early-stage secondary infection, said researchers from the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN).
The diagnostic kit can also be adapted to detect other infectious diseases such as HIV and syphilis, the researchers noted. They are also investigating the use of other common fluid samples, such as blood, urine and serum for rapid, high-sensitivity test kits.
"The ability to differentiate between primary and secondary dengue infections makes it a valuable early diagnosis tool that would help to ensure timely treatment and proper care of patients," explained professor Jackie Y Ying, executive director of IBN.
Dengue infection currently needs laboratory analysis that involves testing the patient's blood-sample for the presence of dengue antigens or antibodies.
The new tool is capable of detecting IgG, a dengue-specific antibody found at the onset of secondary infections, directly from saliva in one step.
To make the device, the IBN researchers used an innovative stacking flow design to overcome key challenges faced by existing lateral flow designs such as those used in pregnancy test kits.
Patients with secondary infection, who have previously been infected with other serotypes of dengue virus, stand a higher risk of developing dengue hemorrhagic fever or dengue shock syndrome.