Around the world, almost 10 million people are infected with the disease – mostly in Central and South America and parts of the USA. Tourism and immigration, however, are also bringing the disease to Europe.
Microfluidic cartridge with integrated reagents and pumps, developed as part of the Fraunhofer ivD platform
Photo: Fraunhofer ENAS / Andreas Morschhauser
One bite can have fatal consequences
The disease is passed on by blood-sucking bugs of the Reduviidae family, whose bite contaminates the wound and ultimately transmits the infection. The acute phase of the illness starts after four weeks and can last up to another four weeks. 30 – 40% of infected people have symptoms such as local redness, swelling around the wound, fever, and nausea. Treatment is only effective if started in this phase of the illness.
After a symptomless stage, which can last for years, the chronic, acute and frequently fatal phase of the illness begins. In 20% of cases, the heart and alimentary organs expand until they fail.
Scientists are concerned because there is still no inoculation. Current methods of treatment not only have serious side effects, they are also unaffordable for many patients.
Effective test offers a chance for a treatment
Under the direction of Fraunhofer ENAS, a European-Brazilian consortium is developing an on-site test, similar to a laboratory analysis, that can detect the infection quickly and reliably.
Scientists from eight European and five Brazilian research institutions and companies are developing a compact, low-cost detection system that can find the pathogen at any location. Three partners of the Heterogeneous Technology Alliance HTA are among them: CEA Leti from France, the Fraunhofer Institute for Electronic Nanosystems ENAS from Germany, and Teknologian tutkimuskeskus VTT from Finland.
The pathogen is detected in, say, a blood sample by searching for both its own DNA and the immune response from the patient’s body. The test allows highly specific diagnosis in all stages of the infection. Including sample pretreatment, the entire test system is the size of a cellular phone.
The researchers are receiving funding from the European Union and the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development in Brazil. The project “PodiTrodi – Technology platform for Point-of-care diagnostics for tropical diseases“ (EU-FP7-287770) started in September 2011 and was planned to run for two and a half years. The system will later be used as a technology platform for other tropical diseases.
Further information is available at http://www.poditrodi.org.European consortium:
• Universidade Federal do Paraná
Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth
09.12.2016 | Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Plant-based substance boosts eyelash growth
09.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Polymerforschung IAP
Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.
Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
09.12.2016 | Life Sciences
09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine