Grant awarded: £629,655
Lead organisation: University of Westminster, London
Partnering organisations: BioGene Ltd; US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases; Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology; Public Health England
Project length: Nov-14 to Nov-15
Study locations: London & Ghana
Principal Investigator: Dr Sterghios A. Moschos FRSC MSB, University of Westminster
Symptomatic patients arriving at Ebola treatment centres in West Africa are triaged by a combination of reviewing their symptoms, assessing Ebola epidemiology in their community, and confirming infection through molecular diagnosis. Beyond acute high fever, symptoms that raise suspicion of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) include vomiting, diarrhoea and uncontrolled haemorrhage. Importantly, these coincide with high levels of viremia and contagiousness through contact with bodily fluids, and are also symptomatic of other diseases prevalent in West Africa, such as malaria.
It is thus necessary to quickly identify and isolate EVD patients to prevent further transmission. However, until that crucial negative molecular result is returned, patients that might be Ebola-free are cared for side-by-side with confirmed positive cases, at risk of acquiring the disease and death. Minimising the time to molecular diagnosis would therefore greatly improve the chances of controlling the current and future Ebola outbreaks.
The project will deliver EbolaCheck, a point-of-need diagnostic device suitable for simple, rapid and safe patient triage at treatment centres anywhere in West Africa. This approach is based on a combination of a validated, proprietary technology for rapid, direct polymerase chain reaction (PCR) on whole blood samples [ExSyte (EBVK8), based on WO2011157989] and the standard of care RTKPCR laboratory diagnostic assays used worldwide to confirm Ebola infection. This project aims to enhance patient triage and improve healthcare worker safety by deploying a rapid (<40 min) diagnostic device based on these laboratory assays.
Progress and outcomes achieved:
Progress and outcomes achieved (update at the end or during midterm)