Molecular tests for malaria that can be performed with unprocessed samples

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1R43AI088787-01
Agency Tracking Number: AI088787
Amount: $546,867.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2010
Solicitation Year: 2010
Solicitation Topic Code: NIAID
Solicitation Number: PHS2010-2
Small Business Information
DUNS: 169510950
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 (978) 927-5056
Business Contact
Phone: (978) 927-5056
Research Institution
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): This SBIR-AT-NIAID Phase I application addresses the problem of malaria diagnostics in resource- limited settings. BioHelix, has developed an isothermal nucleic acid amplification chemistry called helicase dependent amplification (HDA) that is tolerant of the DNA amplification inhibitors present in whole blood. This proposal will focus on the application of this technology to the detection of malarial asexual parasites without nucleic acid extraction. Based on our preliminary results, the expected sensitivity of the species-specific molecular test (~100 nucleic acid copies/5L blood) better than that possible with current rapid tests for asexual stages (200 copies of parasite/5L blood). Our specific objectives for this 2-year-long project are: 1. Develop an HDA assay to detect P. falciparum, P. vivax, P. ovale, and P. malariae. 2. Develop competitive internal controls (CIC) for the species-specific assay, as well as a 2-plex assay to detect the CIC with the targets in whole blood. 3. Develop manufacturing processes for the proposed assay kit that will enable field-use of the technology. 4. Evaluate the performance of the assay relative to the gold-standard tests. 5. Obtain CE marking for the assay. 6. Submit a pre-IDE to FDA as a preliminary step to seeking FDA clearance for the test. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: As malaria is the leading cause death in endemic regions, the current treatment approach is not based on laboratory, or microscopy testing because establishing quality-assured microscopy in rural and resource- poor settings is difficult. The liberal use of anti-malarial drugs that results from such practices presents a problem in that resistance to first line drug treatments is wide-spread. This SBIR-AT-NIAID proposal focuses on the development of a species-specific for the detection of Plasmodium in blood. More sensitive, species- specific, and stage-specific diagnostic tests will help focus drug treatment, and may slow the spread of anti- malarial drug resistance in the pathogen population. Based on our preliminary results, the expected sensitivity of the species-specific DNA test (~100 nucleic acid copies/5L blood) will be better than that possible with current rapid tests for asexual stages (200 copies of parasite/5L blood). A more sensitive test that can be performed in the field near patients would greatly enhance malaria fighting activities. We anticipate tests in the range of 7- 10 for the HDA tests should be possible, if total test volumes reach 200,000.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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