Non-invasive diagnosis of viable adult filarial infections

Investigator: Judy Sakanari, PhD
Sponsor: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Location(s): United States


Judy Sakanari of the University of California, San Francisco, and Manu Prakash from Stanford University in the U.S. will develop a cheap electromagnetic detection device to non-invasively assess the viability of parasitic nematode worms in infected patients to guide treatment duration. Current methods of detecting viable worms in nodules or the lymphatic system are invasive or expensive. Using animal infection models, they will develop an easy-to-use electronic bandage enabling ultrasensitive detection of capacitance changes caused by movement or physical changes in the adult worms following drug treatment. This could greatly improve the ability to perform in vivo drug studies in animals by being able to non-invasively monitor worm viability over the course of drug treatment and dosing. The bandages will ultimately be tested on humans and could be designed to transfer data remotely for real-time monitoring of the effects of drug treatments in the field.