TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2016

FIND announces agreement to develop Chagas disease test

A new collaboration between a Geneva-based non-profit and a Japanese-based manufacturer will aid in the development of a diagnostic test for congenital Chagas disease, the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics said on Thursday.

FIND announced the agreement with Eiken Chemical Co., Ltd., which will expand a collaboration in developing rapid and simple molecular tests for disease of poverty. The agreement adds to FIND and Eiken's ongoing joint efforts to develop a loop-mediated isothermal amplification-based platform for leishmaniasis, sleeping sickness, malaria and tuberculosis. FIND will provide financial support as part of the agreement.

Chagas disease is caused by infection with the Trypanosoma cruzi parasite. The disease affects eight to 11 million people worldwide and is endemic in Mexico, South America and Central America. While most individuals with chronic disease remain without signs or symptoms, 20 percent to 30 percent eventually develop clinical disease.

When detected early, treatment for the disease is highly effective. If the disease is left untreated, the infection may become lifelong.

LAMP-based detection platforms detect pathogen DNA from patient samples with much less laboratory equipment than other tests. FIND and Eiken are looking to develop LAMP-based detectors that can identify parasite DNA directly from whole blood samples in under an hour.

FIND said it is dedicated to developing cutting edge diagnostic tests that are easy-to-use and affordable.