Developing a Simple and Automated Method to Measure T Cell-Based TB Biomarkers
Munyaradzi Musvosvi of the University of Cape Town in South Africa will determine whether a valuable biomarker of tuberculosis (TB) can be measured in small volumes of blood collected by finger-prick together with an automated, low-cost processing approach to accelerate diagnoses in low-resource settings. Individuals with TB have higher levels of a specific activation marker on the surface of some of their T cells, which could be a valuable diagnostic target. However, current methods to measure levels requires trained health and laboratory professionals to draw the blood, perform the assay, and analyze the results. As a more practical approach for resource-limited settings, they will test whether the biomarker can be reliably measured in low volumes of blood. They will also develop a microfluidic device to automatically process blood samples for flow cytometry analysis, and novel staining reagents as an alternative to expensive antibodies.