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Low-cost Portable Molecular Diagnostic Platform

Ongoing

Project description

Low-cost Portable Molecular Diagnostic Platform for Rapid Detection of Poultry Infectious Pathogens (LMDP)

The poultry industry in the Philippines accounts for 15% of the agricultural output, equating to 123.4 billion pesos perannum and is growing at a few percent per annum. One factor affecting growth is an inability to rapidly detect disease within the chicken population. There are a range of bacterial and viral pathogens which affect the poultry industry.

Currently the diagnostic methodology is reliant on a drop in production performance, presence of clinical signs, pathological lesions and serological findings. As such the diagnostic time is quite long and this can affect the ability to implement control measures to limit the spread of the disease to adjacent poultry farms. Although the key disease pathogens are well known, Newcastle disease, infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV), avian infectious bronchitis (IB), Salmonellosis, Avian PathogenicE. coli (APEC) and mycoplasma gallisepticum, it is unclear at present time what the particular strain or strains are which affect the Philippines, or any information on the genetic diversity of these. It is considered that a relatively small 1% increase or decrease in production can make a very large economic impact.

To address this, a multidisciplinary consortium from the UK (Brunel University London, Surrey University and the Pribright Institute) and the Philippines (College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of the Philippines Los Banos, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Cavite State University and the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Eastern Philippines) has been formed.

Using the complimentary skills of those involved the project proposes to develop and translate to the Philippines a rapid easy to use point of need molecular diagnostic test that can be used at the site of infection and test for the key viral and bacterial pathogens identified which are of current concern. The total test time will be under 1 hour (sample to result). The system will consist of a sample collection and preparation device and a  small instrument approximately the size of a large matchbox which will be wirelessly connected to a smartphone. The smartphone app will run the assay and display the results. The results can also be sent wirelessly to a central store and used for surveillance purposes. The platform can be relatively easily adapted for any new and emerging strains of these pathogens. Once the system is laboratory validated it will be evaluated in the Philippines. In addition, agreements will be sought to transfer the technology to the Philippines for large scale manufacture thus providing for a secondary economic effect.