Researchers from the University of the Philippines (UP) have developed a “Lab-in-a-Mug” dengue test kit that can detect the virus faster than conventional testing methods.
According toGood News Pilipinas, the Biotek M Dengue Kit “acts as a confirmatory test for diagnosis of dengue infection in the first 0-5 days of illness.” It is 94% specific with 87% sensitivity and can produce results in an hour or even less. It was designed to be used in healthcare facilities with minimal laboratory facilities.
The groundbreaking kits were designed to help the marginalized sector by providing a more affordable way to detect dengue early since they tend to be the group most affected by the virus. Early detection of the dengue virus can lead to the proper treatment of patients.
“Dengue is dangerous when not treated early,” Dr. Raul V. Destura, who led the Lab-in-a-Mug project, toldGulf News. “The standard test for dengue, Polymerase Chain Reaction test, costs too high for the marginalized sector who are the most commonly affected by the dengue infection. It also takes at least 24 hours to know the results.”
These test kits also require minimal maintenance compared to other diagnostics equipment, and it is easier to seek tech support for these devices since they were locally designed and developed, reports the Philippine Genome Center.
The Biotek M Dengue Kit was developed by Dr. Destura and his team from the UP Manila National Health Institutes and the UP Diliman National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, with the support of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
Good News Pilipinas also reports that the diagnostic kit is targeted to be exported and distributed internationally after it passed the evaluation of the panel of experts from the Association of Southeast Asian National Diagnostics Initiative (ADI) to be used in ASEAN countries.
There are also more diagnostic kit projects in the works here in the Philippines, including ones that test for leptospirosis, influenza, salmonellosis, chikungunya, and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) such as schistosomiasis and paragonimiasis.
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Very young children are among the most vulnerable to dengue infection. Click here to learn about the symptoms of dengue in babies.