LamdaGen Corporation and Arisan Therapeutics announced today they will share a $2 million Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop a high-sensitivity point-of-care (POC) dual diagnostic to detect both acute dengue and Zika viral infections in a single rapid test on LamdaGen’s L’AuRa digital diagnostic platform.
The L’AuRa platform enables robust diagnostic testing that is simple, compact and cost effective with no moving parts. L’AuRa technology can be integrated into designs ranging from miniaturized handhelds to small desktops to lab-based throughput systems, each providing powerful on the spot performance of high sensitivity, rapid and quantitative diagnostic assays.
Global incidence of dengue has grown dramatically in recent decades with half of the world's population now at risk. In fact, incidence of both dengue and Zika are escalating and prone to unpredictable outbreaks due to climate shifts and proliferation of carriers such as mosquitoes and ticks. Currently an estimated 390 million dengue infections occur annually. Of these, approximately 500,000 cases develop into life-threatening dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) or dengue shock syndrome (DSS), severe forms of the disease which result in over 25,000 deaths globally each year.
“Early diagnosis of patients with dengue in particular is critical for timely clinical intervention and disease control,” commented Randolph Storer, CEO of LamdaGen. “Dengue and Zika are closely related, and currently there is no FDA-approved multiplex POC test that can differentiate between the two during the acute phases of infection. Our collaborators at Arisan have identified highly specific antibodies for each test which we are integrating into the development on the L’AuRa platform.”
In addition to enabling differentiation between the two viruses, this highly sensitive and quantitative POC assay will have the potential of acting as a prognostic for identifying patients at risk of developing severe forms of dengue including DHF and DSS based on concentration of viral antigen found in blood. Early and rapid identification of at-risk patients may help reduce mortality and morbidity by enabling immediate monitoring and medical care.
Speaking of the importance of this NIH grant, Ken McCormack, President of Arisan added, “We are very appreciative of NIH’s support and excited to move forward in our collaboration with LamdaGen to develop these potentially life-saving solutions.”