Detecting Pathogens in Mosquitoes with Pregnancy Test Strips
Andrew Ellington of The University of Texas at Austin in the U.S. will develop a low-cost and easy-to-use diagnostic test incorporating widely available pregnancy test strips to detect disease-causing mosquitoes. An industry partner will develop a handheld sample preparation device to extract pathogen-associated nucleic acids from live or crushed mosquitoes for diagnosis. An undergraduate research laboratory will design loop-mediated isothermal amplification reactions for a number of different pathogens including the dengue virus and malaria pathogen that would lead to the release of human chorionic gonadotropin within the device, which can then be detected by standard pregnancy tests. They will first test the sensitivity of the device for detecting mosquitoes coated with pathogen biomarkers in the laboratory.