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High Sensitivity Optical Methods to Detect Measles Virus

Award Information

Department of Health and Human Services
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2012 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 2
Fiscal Year: 2012
Title: High Sensitivity Optical Methods to Detect Measles Virus
Agency: HHS
Contract: 200-2012-53384
Award Amount: $579,970.00


A rapid respond to outbreaks critically depends on laboratory confirmation of suspected measles cases. In general, the turnaround times for serologic test results provided by the WHO Measles/Rubella Laboratory Network are adequate; however, results from specimens collected in remote areas can be delayed due to poor infrastructure for collection, storage and transportation of specimens. For this reason, diagnostic assays that can be performed in field conditions may be necessary for rapid outbreak confirmation and response in some settings. There is no plan to replace the standard diagnostic approaches with rapid filed tests and results from rapid filed tests will always be confirmed in the national laboratory. However, in some settings, the availability of a rapid test would improve the timing of the public health response to an outbreak. Rapid response to measles outbreaks is critical. Argent Diagnostics has developed a bench top assay using surface enhanced raman spectroscopy (SERS) to detect measles virus that is sensitive and specific. The lower limit of detection of measles virus in a clinical sample is equivalent to that of RT-PCR. The assay can also identify the genotype of measles and could distinguish between vaccine and wild-type strains. As part of the Phase II project, Argent will adapt the measles assay to a convenient hand held device that could be used as a rapid field test in resource limited settings.The hand held device is available commercially and is being adapted for field tests for a number of viral pathogens including influenza, respiratory syncytial virus, Hendra virus and Nipah virus. Success of the Phase II project would attract funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and private companies interested in commercial viral diagnostics

Principal Investigator:

Richard Dluhy

Business Contact:

Richard Dluhy
Small Business Information at Submission:

Argents Diagnostics, Inc.
Athens, GA 30602-

EIN/Tax ID: 300358327
Number of Employees: N/A
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No