Bradley Willenberg at the University of Central Florida Research Foundation in the U.S. will design a simple trap that works without electricity to help survey local vector mosquito populations and uses a color change to signal the presence of human disease-causing pathogens. They will develop a formulation based on toxic sugared water to attract specific types of mosquitoes to the trap. The sugar water will be mixed with a stable short nucleic acid sequence known as an aptamer, which they have designed to bind to the chikungunya virus, conjugated to gold nanoparticles. When a mosquito drinks the solution, its abdomen will turn blue if it is carrying this virus, and red if it isn't, for an easy visual readout. They will test the performance of their device for attracting and killing the Aedes mosquito, and detecting the virus. Their approach could be used to detect other pathogens such as dengue virus and the malaria-causing Plasmodium parasite.
More information about Surveillance Tools, Diagnostics and an Artificial Diet to Support New Approaches to Vector Control (Round 15)