Focused on Elimination
At DDTD, we embrace the ideal of eliminating diseases that do not belong to the 21st century. The first step towards eliminating a disease is the ability to detect it. Mapping diseases is critical for the World Health Organization (WHO) and its affiliates to initiate mass drug administration programs, allocate resources, monitor progress, and eventually verify elimination.
DDTD is especially interested in mapping filariae, a group of parasitic worms that infect tens of millions of people and that cause loiasis, river blindness, and lymphatic filariasis. Although rarely lethal, these infections are a major cause of disability worldwide, and on a larger scale, impede socioeconomic development and poverty reduction. Filariae are transmitted by the bite of mosquitoes or flies. New rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) for filariases are acutely needed, especially for loiasis where such tests are not commercially available.
Our Diagnostic Device to Map Parasitic Worms
DDTD is developing a Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) to map filariases, with an initial emphasis on loiasis. The test is similar in focus to a home pregnancy test and requires a drop of blood collected by finger prick. The blood sample is deposited in the device, followed by two drops of buffer. The test is complete within 5 minutes, and gives a positive test line in case of infection.
An optional smart phone reader manufactured by Cellmic captures an image of the test, quantifies and interprets the results, and uploads the data, along with GPS coordinates, into a database for real-time mapping. This database will assist international organization and health ministries in making programmatic decisions.
Additional Sources of Innovation
Part of the innovation is the incorporation of novel high contrast nanoparticles that provide a black test line with a superior analytical sensitivity. The nanoparticles are made by our partner nanoComposix.
The biology behind the device was discovered by Dr. Nutman, Head of Clinical Parasitology at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).