A solution to accurately diagnosing dengue fever type 1 has just been invented, it's inexpensive and simple.
A multidisciplinary team of researchers from the Universidad Nacional de San Martín (UNSAM) in Argentina, has put together in record time a diagnostic kit that can detect dengue fever without requiring any specially trained professionals or complicated technology.
A strip to diagnose dengue fever
The kit works as a reactive strip that turns purple when antibodies against the virus are present and has a precision rate between 80% and 90%. The kit has just been approved by Argentina's ANMAT, the National Administration for Medicines, Food, and Medical Technology.
The company Chemtest will produce the kits.
The test kit works similarly to that of a pregnancy test, it's already available in Argentina and will soon be ready to be exported internationally.
The team has been working on the project for over four years, and since then has wanted to create diagnostic commercial kits to help both human and animal health. So far, there are two formats in which the test is available: the Elisa — which requires specialized equipment and personnel — and the "point of care", or POC system, which gives results in mere minutes with very little amounts of blood sample required.
The POC system takes what can sometimes be an uncomfortable, and typically unpleasant, situation, and turns it into a seamless and quick one. All you need to do is place a little drop of blood on the strip, pop the strip into the little tube, and wait a few minutes before getting the result.
So far, the researchers have created the kit to diagnose dengue type 1, the most common in Argentina. When testing their kit, the team discovered that from people who had suffered five days of fever, the diagnosis was 92% accurate in detecting the virus. The team suspects that their system could also function for types 2, 3, and 4 dengue.
The team has yet to confirm the cost of each kit, however, they estimate that the production cost will be around two to three dollars.
Dengue fever is the most viral illness around the world and is transmitted through infected mosquitoes stinging humans. Approximately 40% of the world's population, that's around 3 billion people, live in areas where dengue fever is present. This kit could help improve many people's lives.