Imagine saving up for that African safari, or a relaxing beach side holiday in Bali, or travelling to Brazil for Carnival, or even that trek to Far North Queensland to experience the delights of tropical Australia; now imagine you start to feel feverish, sore, and quite ill… You need answers and treatment fast!
Within the increasingly mobile society in which we live, tropical diseases don’t just reside in these tropical locations - they can also become mobile via air travel, transport trucks, or even just a hug or handshake with an infected fellow passenger. According to Queensland Health, the viruses dengue, Ross River and Barmah Forest occur widely in Queensland and Australia. The Zika Virus has been diagnosed in Queensland in travellers returning from overseas. The same mosquito that is found in Queensland and carries dengue is also known to transmit Zika.
Now imagine if there was a rapid diagnostic test that allowed the health care worker in Africa, Bali, Brazil, or Cape York to find out if you have Malaria, Dengue, or Zika. You can then receive the correct treatment and find relief from your symptoms quickly.
Good news! USC’s research team led by Dr Joanne Macdonald is working towards this goal by adapting a simple diagnostic test to report on the presence of multiple health-related biomarkers.
How USC is tackling the issue
To develop a solution for rapid health monitoring, Dr Macdonald’s team have considered one of the simplest health monitoring tools available on the market: the at-home pregnancy test. This test is rapid and easy to use, but currently only reports the presence or absence of one health-related biomarker (a molecule that is present during pregnancy).
The USC team realised this simple device could be expanded for the detection of multiple health-related biomarkers, including developing a visual output system to enable straightforward read-out by the operator, without requiring any electronic devices.
USC is collaborating with world leaders in diagnostics to apply this technology for detection of the following disease panels that are of particular importance to not only Queensland and Australia but globally, given the presence or threat of these particular diseases (listed in the next column).
- Diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, including:
- Dengue virus
- Zika virus
- Malaria parasite
- Diseases causing hemorrhagic fever, including:
- Ebola virus
- Viral diseases that cause encephalitis, including:
- Murray Valley encephalitis virus
- West Nile virus
- Hendra virus
- Diseases transmitted in contaminated water, including Adenoviruses that cause:
To help support this historical innovation in disease research, a special fund has been established for those who would like to contribute towards the life-changing research.
By making a donation to support Rapid Diagnostic Technology you will assist in providing world-wide changes to how viral and bacterial diseases are detected and thus will contribute to the next step in eradication of these deadly diseases.
100% of your donation will go towards Rapid Diagnostic Technology research, and any donations over $2 are tax deductible.
For more information on donating to this project contact Kate Evans, Senior Development Manager, USC Development Office.