Thursday, 11 August 2016

Lighting Up Disease Carrying Mosquitoes

A scientist has devised a simple technique for detecting genetic material from West Nile and chikungunya virus in samples, taken from mosquitoes.
To help in the battle against disease carrying mosquitoes, Dr. Robert Meagher, of Sandia National Laboratories, has devised a new method for simultaneously detecting a range of mosquito-borne diseases, such as malaria. To do this effectively requires a robust assay.
The method developed is based on a nucleic acid amplification technique that differs from the traditional PCR (polymerase chain reaction). The newly invented method is based on fluorescent labelling. Here sample mosquitoes can be captured, samples extracted and tested.
With the method, by fluorescently labeling a primer (that is DNA fragment sequences extracted from the mosquito), glow as they are produced. If the primer does not detect the viral RNA, there is no glow. This allows for a rapid and simple detection.
It is hoped that the method can be adapted and used as rapid test in the field to help track down patterns of viral spread. The method will not currently work for the detection of Zika virus.
The research is published in the journal Analytical Chemistry. The paper is titled: "Quenching of unincorporated amplification signal reporters (QUASR) in RT-LAMP enables bright, single-step, closed-tube and multiplexed detection of RNA viruses."

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle