Rapid Diagnostic Kit for Chikungunya Detection

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Researchers tested the efficacy of an antigen-based chikungunya rapid diagnostic kit to check its efficiency during co-infection with dengue.

The kit for detecting chikungunya was developed in 2013 by an international group of researchers. The test was done in India, which is a dengue endemic country.  When tested, the kit showed 93% sensitivity and 95% specificity. The findings were published in Virology Journal in January 2019 issue.

Dr. Sujatha Sunil, from the Vector Borne Diseases Group at International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology and co-author of the study, said: “Current tests for chikungunya look for the antibody produced by our body against the virus. This is the first time a technology has been developed to identify the virus antigen, and we are excited that it can perform well even in our country where the virus can be of different genotype.”

The antigen-based test detects chikungunya at various times, once the patients shows signs of its symptoms such as fever, it showed an ability of 72 percent, which is same as DNA-based test (76 percent). The antigen-based test kit was able to detect the antigen for chikungunya even in dengue co-infected patient. The researchers were satisfied with the uniqueness of the kit as it did not cross-react with dengue positive or chikungunya negative patients.

“More validation with larger cohorts is necessary before bringing the kit into the market. As many rapid diagnostic kits have produced false positives and created panic, the government is extra careful about such kits. This is the first step to quick diagnosis which is important during an outbreak,” adds Dr. Sujatha.

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Cynthia Carrier is a graduate of Texas A&M, where she played volleyball and annoyed a lot of professors. Now as Plains Gazette's entertainment and Lifestyle Editor, she enjoys writing about delicious BBQ, outrageous style trends and all things Texas.