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ASD's LabSpec® analyzer helps in the fight against Zika and Dengue

An accurate high-throughput method for screening mosquitoes

BOULDER, Colo. — 5 October 2016 - ASD Inc., a PANalytical company, and developer of high-performance near-infrared (NIR) analytical instrumentation and material analysis solutions, has learned that their LabSpec NIR analyzer is being used in the fight against Zika and Dengue.
Zika and Dengue are viral diseases that infect well over 400 million people each year. In humans, infection by the Dengue virus results in fevers, headaches, rashes and severe joint and muscle pains. Infection by the Zika virus typically causes a mild illness known as Zika fever. More significantly, prenatal Zika infection has been associated with microcephaly and other serious brain anomalies.

Numerous studies have shown that infecting Zika- and Dengue-carrying mosquitoes with a targeted strain of the Wolbachia bacterium greatly reduces the likelihood that the mosquitoes carry the Zika or Dengue virus. The release of Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes has been shown to rapidly spread and can infect over 80 percent of the local mosquito population.

In order to judge the effectiveness of a release program, wild mosquitoes must be trapped and screened for the presence of the Wolbachia bacterium. Dr. Maggy Sikulu-Lord, from QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Brisbane, Australia, and colleagues have developed a NIR-based method for rapidly screening Wolbachia infection in mosquitoes. Using ASD’s field portable LabSpec NIR analyzer, the researchers have been able to distinguish between infected and uninfected mosquitoes with 85-95 percent accuracy, enabling them to rapidly determine the effectiveness of the program.

Dr. Sikulu-Lord states: “A study nominated for an award by Combating Zika and Future threats, funded by USAID, and led by Dr Sikulu from the University of Queensland, will investigate the ability of the NIR as a rapid technique to detect Zika and Dengue infections in the principal mosquito vector Ae. aegypti in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. We will use a Labspec 5000 NIR instrument from ASD PANalytical to develop models that can be used to rapidly detect Zika and Dengue transmission hotspots Brazil. This information will enable quick identification of high-risk areas, prioritize efforts and resources and measure the impacts of vector control interventions.”

Brent Olsen, VP & GM of ASD said “A key part of ASD's and PANalytical's mission and vision is to create a better world by helping people to analyze materials that matter to them and the environment; as such, our organization is pleased that our solutions have the ability to help make a difference in the fight against Zika and Dengue.”

For more information see: http://discover.asdi.com/asds-labspec-helps-in-the-fight-against-zika-and-dengue. For more information about ASD instruments, please visit www.asdi.com.

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