SBIR Phase II: Autonomous Sensor Network to Manage West Nile Virus Epidemics

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 0823095
Agency Tracking Number: 0638153
Amount: $448,148.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2009
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: MI
Solicitation Number: NSF 06-553
Small Business Information
DUNS: 960774941
HUBZone Owned: Y
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Kim Spencer
 (951) 686-5008
Business Contact
 Kim Spencer
Title: MD
Phone: (951) 686-5008
Research Institution
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II proposal seeks to develop an automated sensory system (AMSS) for gathering and processing of mosquitoes vectors of West-Nile-Virus-Fever (WNV). AMSS captures mosquitoes, macerates them with solvents, process the fluid using a sensory array, relays wirelessly the information to a centralized internet hub where data is hosted, managed, reports created and distributed. There are four main parts to the proposed AMSS: 1) Design and development of the robotic device that sucks and crushes the insect; 2) Design and development of the sensor array; 3) Development of methods to determine presence of WNV in the circulatory fluids of the insects; 4) Automated wireless system for transmitting data. The AMSS can also be decoupled from the mosquito-trap providing the user with a handheld-sensing-system to detect WNV in samples derived from vectors (e.g. mosquitoes) or hosts (e.g. humans, vertebrates in general). The proposed system can be potentially expanded for detecting other harmful pathogens and could be used by homeland security and public health agencies. If successful detection of the WNV-pathogen at a very early stage of its occurrence is of significant benefit to public health agencies and may allow for diversion of future epidemics. Early detection is the only form of early epidemic prevention. This project describes a disruptive concept to fill an enormous gap in vector-management, which now lacks technologies for speedy and effective data collection. WNV-detection-instruments are slow, expensive, bulky, require human interference and laboratory conditions with plenty of consumables and energy, and not amenable to unattended autonomous operation. Current detection procedures invariably fail to detect introduced pathogens before disease or epidemics become widespread. Vector-control personnel and epidemiologists rely on manual time consuming mosquito- vector management methods that often come too late to prevent epidemics and require expensive remedial actions, such as blanket spraying of insecticides on entire regions. Such mosquito management is inefficient, ecologically harmful and conducive to pesticide resistance. The proposed AMSS system will have significant impact in the detection of WNV-pathogens market, evaluated at $500M/yr. This will foster preventative rather than crisis or partially effective, remedial control actions. Implications can be made that this vector and disease management may be useful for bio-detection in the homeland-security, health-care, agroenvironmental field and food-safety markets, evaluated at $1.3B/yr.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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