On 16 May 2019, i-sense Flagship 1 Lead, Professor Rosanna Peeling, along with Postdoctoral Research Associate, Dr Noah Fongwen, led the ’Ultrasensitive Antigen Tests in Infectious Disease Diagnostics: Applications and Perspectives’ i-sense workshop.
The main aim of the workshop was to discuss how different Flagships could apply the technologies within i-sense in the development of ultrasensitive antigen tests for priority diseases.
During this meeting attendees heard from speakers with experience ranging from diagnostic development to those with vast end-user perspectives.
Prof Rosanna Peeling presented on prioritising diagnostic development for research and development. She talked about the Global Good project and how it provided the case for investments for different diseases.
The diseases for which ultrasensitive antigens are needed were grouped into four groups:
- High impact/high effort
- High impact/low effort
- Low impact/high effort
- Low impact/low effort
The next activity during the workshop was a roundtable that encouraged participants to draw from the technologies within i-sense to see how they can come up with a more specific test for Schistosomiasis. They discussed the needs and limitations. After this, they were given five minutes to present to the whole group.
The final item of the day was an open discussion in which Prof David Mabey and Dr Amaya Bustinduy talked about how ultrasensitive antigen tests can be useful in the field. They shared their experiences from diseases such as Schistosomiasis, Trachoma, and Malaria. Participants asked questions on the use of ultrasensitive antigens in the field as well.
Key take home messages:
- For many diseases, as we approach elimination, the prevalence and intensity of infection decrease remarkably necessitating the use of ultrasensitive antigen detection
- Current challenges include cross-reactivity of current tests and low sensitivity in the field evaluation studies when compared with their analytical performance in laboratory studies
- Creating opportunities or providing a platform for test developers to interact with end-users and be aware of field realities would be very useful in accelerating R&D for diagnostics that are appropriate for resource-limited settings