Dr Paulo Rocha is developing a low-cost integrative sensing tool for early...
Dr Paulo Rocha is developing a low-cost integrative sensing tool for early detection of Dengue virus, using a novel platform containing electrical sensors to investigate the behaviour of human cells infected with Dengue virus.
Source: University of Bath

Sensing tool could detect Dengue fever earlier

Researchers from the University of Bath are developing a new tool for detecting the presence of Dengue fever early on, helping prevent people from suffering potential life-threatening complications.

Dr Paulo Rocha from the University of Bath’s Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering is developing a low-cost integrative sensing tool for early detection of Dengue virus, using a novel platform containing electrical sensors to investigate the behaviour of human cells infected with Dengue virus.

When someone is infected by the Dengue virus it produces proteins, particularly ‘non-structural protein 1’ (NS1) which is secreted from infected cells. Using a three centimetre squared platform, the Bath-based research team will observe the electrical behaviour of human cells in vitro infected by different concentrations of NS1. A better understanding of the electrical behaviour of these cells, the researchers believe, will help create a more accurate and sensitive way of detecting the presence of Dengue virus.

In the future, it is hoped this research will lead to the development of a low cost, disposable, real time wearable system for detecting Dengue fever as well as Zika virus and Yellow Fever virus, both of which belong to the same Flaviviridae family. This will be of particular benefit to communities in developing countries where access to healthcare may be limited and Dengue fever is particularly prevalent.

Dengue fever is an incurable mosquito-borne tropical disease initiated by the Dengue virus. It is spread by mosquitos mostly in tropical and subtropical areas of the world with symptoms ranging from fever and muscle/joint pains to life threatening Dengue hemorrhagic fever. Each year it is estimated 390 million dengue infections occur around the world. Of these, 500,000 cases develop into dengue haemorrhagic fever which results in up to 25,000 deaths annually worldwide.

A method that doctors currently adopt to test for Dengue fever is by examining the presence of NS1 in a patient’s bloodstream through a simple blood test. However, many people who are infected by Dengue virus may not be diagnosed due to the concentration of NS1 being so low and therefore not detected. This prevents correct diagnosis and the early intervention of drugs to counteract and reduce the effects of the virus.

“If we can detect Dengue fever earlier on, we can ultimately efficiently treat a person’s symptoms and prevent the virus from developing into a more serious infection. By determining if there is a correlation with a cell’s electrical signal and the presence – no matter how little the concentration – of NS1, we can identify if someone is infected with Dengue virus earlier,” said Rocha.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Related articles

Biosensors quickly spot coronavirus proteins, antibodies

Biosensors quickly spot coronavirus proteins, antibodies

Scientists have created a new way to detect the proteins that make up the pandemic coronavirus, as well as antibodies against it.

Quantum nanodiamonds help detect disease earlier

Quantum nanodiamonds help detect disease earlier

The quantum sensing abilities of nanodiamonds can be used to improve the sensitivity of paper-based diagnostic tests, potentially allowing for earlier detection of diseases such as HIV.

Holographic imaging to detect viruses

Holographic imaging to detect viruses

A new approach using holographic imaging to detect both viruses and antibodies has the potential to aid in medical diagnoses and, specifically, those related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nanotechnology provides rapid visual detection of COVID-19

Nanotechnology provides rapid visual detection of COVID-19

Scientists have developed an experimental diagnostic test for COVID-19 that can visually detect the presence of the virus in 10 minutes.

A pill-sized heating device for diagnostic testing

A pill-sized heating device for diagnostic testing

Researchers have developed a ‘heater’ — about the size of a pill tablet — that regulates the temperature of biological samples through the different stages of diagnostic testing.

An on-chip printed 'electronic nose'

An on-chip printed 'electronic nose'

Researchers have designed an on-chip printed 'electronic nose' that serves as a proof of concept for low-cost and sensitive devices to be used in healthcare.

A bifunctional biosensor detects COVID-19

A bifunctional biosensor detects COVID-19

How fast could SARS-CoV-2 be detected? Researchers have developed an accurate, high-speed, and portable detector for COVID-19.

Face mask sensor to detect COVID-19

Face mask sensor to detect COVID-19

Researchers are developing a color-changing test strip that can be stuck on a mask and used to detect SARS-CoV-2 in a user’s breath or saliva.

Precision health in the palm of your hand

Precision health in the palm of your hand

Recent breakthrough developments in technologies for real-time genome sequencing, analysis, and diagnosis are poised to deliver a new standard of personalized care.

Popular articles