Epidemics and emerging infectious diseases
Product or technological
Ebolavirus and Marburgvirus cause rare but fatal viral haemorrhagic fevers (VHFs) in remote villages of equatorial Africa. Both filovirus VHF are highly infectious with potential for urban, regional and global spread. Early detection is important for VHF epidemic prevention and control. Whereas two rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) have emerged on the scene for Zaire ebolavirus (EBOV), RDTs for other Ebolavirus species that cause VHFs in humans, such as Sudan ebolavirus-SUDV, Bundibugyo ebolavirus-BDBV, Tai Forest ebolavirus-TAFV and Marburgvirus-MARV are missing. Given the similarity of symptomatology among VHFs and other infectious diseases, it is clear that RDTs to combat filovirus VHFs are needed.
Dr. Misaki Wayengera is a Medical Doctor with Graduate Training in Immunology, Clinical Microbiology, and Vaccinology. He is fellow of the Human Genetics and Genomics Programme run by the US National Human Genome Research Institute-NHGRI. He has a PhD in Pathogen OMICS, and EDCTP-Post-Doc Fellowship in Filovirology (NICD-Johannesburg, SA). He is currently In-Charge of the unit of genetics and genomics-UGG at the Mulago Supra-National Reference Hospital in Kampala. The Pan-Filovirus Rapid Diagnostic Test is premised on the identity of conserved epitopes of filovirus glycoprotein (GP) with potential for intra-genera differentiation. The solution has identified and patented B cell epitopes of filovirus glycoprotein and has validated the ability of synthetic epitopes and their antibodies to capture host specific IgG responses in survivor serum and recombinant GP, respectively. The solution has tested filovirus antigen and IgM capture sandwich ELISAs on live-virus within a P4 (NICD-SA). Prototypes of the RDTs (Ag, IgM, and IgG) have been developed. This test solution is currently undergoing testing and optimisation of various sample buffer reagents that unmask epitopes concealed by post-translational modifications. These RDTs could enable early detection and thereby control and prevention of VHFs at the point of care within village settings.