Tick-borne diseases are a major health problem in the United States. Among them, Lyme disease due to the Borrelia spp., Anaplasmosis due to Anaplasma spp., and Babesiosis caused by Babesia spp., account for a large number of cases occurring throughout the country. Most of these diseases are associated with significant morbidity and have also been associated with increased rates of fatality. Although treatment is readily available to combat these pathogens, a delay in initiating treatment can have deadly consequences. In many cases, treatment is started with clinical suspicion alone due to the rapid onset and progression of disease symptoms. This aggressive approach towards treatment stems from the lack of a rapid, sensitive and specific assay to diagnose the agents of these deadly infections. Conventional methods of diagnosis which include microscopic detection, serological assays lack the required sensitivity and specificity. A newer diagnostic platform that would enable a timely and precise detection of these pathogens would help the clinicians to use a more rational treatment regimen with improved patient outcomes.
Rutgers scientists have devised a novel approach that not only helps to rapidly diagnose the etiological agents of disease, but can also identify all the three pathogens in a single assay. This innovative concept utilizes the widely available real time polymerase chain reaction (Q-PCR) based molecular beacon technology to enable a precise and rapid detection of all the three tick-borne diseases. The assay has also been standardized to detect these individual pathogens with enhanced sensitivity and specificity.
The assay has also been shown to be consistently superior with a wide range of clinical samples, including blood. This feature could be particularly useful in identifying cases of transfusion associated Babesiosis. Due to the fact that some of these ticks are associated with pets and also animals found in the wild, the technology has a veterinary application as well.
- Infectious disease diagnostics
- Veterinary disease diagnostics
- Research tools
- Therapeutic efficacy
- Rapid diagnostics
- High throughput
- Increased sensitivity
- Improved specificity
Intellectual Property & Development Status:
Patent pending. Available for licensing and/or research collaboration.