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Monday 21st May 2018

India's dipstick test for dengue

8th February 2007

24082006_indian_women1.jpgA low-cost, easy-to-use test for dengue fever may make it possible detect the disease early in its development, even in countries with scant medical resources.

Indian researchers have developed a dipstick for the early detection of the mosquito-borne dengue fever, outbreaks of which have intensified in South and Southeast Asia, and South America, in recent months.

The test, reported in the online journal Biotechnology Progress, does not require skilled manpower or complicated equipment. It works by showing a brown dot if dipped into blood which contains antibodies against the dengue virus.

Developed by Nagesh Tripathi and colleagues at the India-based Defence Research and Development Establishment, the dipstick needs further work to enable a differential diagnosis with other infections, and to work out how cheaply it can be produced.

Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral disease affecting several tropical and subtropical regions of the world. It causes an estimated 100 million infections every year, with no effective vaccine available.

While the disease itself is rarely fatal, a complication known as dengue haemorrhagic fever kills 20% of patients if they do not receive treatment.

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