Detection of Dengue, Chikungunya and Zika viruses by a new multiplexing platform among patients in Sarawak, Malaysia
PI - Dr. Toh Teck Hock, Pediatrician and Head of Clinical Research Centre, Sibu Hospital, Sibu, Sarawak, Malaysia

Co-PI - Dr. Gregory Gray, Division of Infectious Diseases, University of Texas Medical Branch

Southeast Asia has been identified as a hotspot for emerging infectious diseases including arboviruses such as Japanese encephalitis, dengue, chikungunya, and Zika virus. In Malaysia, dengue is commonly reported, affecting roughly 50-100 million people with a combined death toll estimated to be 24,000 per year globally. While the capacity for arbovirus diagnostics is good in some parts of the country, the equatorial state of Sarawak, Malaysia, located on the island of Borneo, only has the capacity for rapid combo tests (RCT) which are exclusively used in dengue detection and the ability to surveil for other arboviruses are not routinely available.

The T-COR 8 Real-time PCR Thermocycler (Tetracore Industries, Rockville, MD, USA) increases the span of surveillance possible for clinicians in Sarawak due to the breadth of its diagnostic capability, as well as its portability. Therefore, the overall goals of this study are to 1) evaluate the clinical value of the T-COR 8 multiplexing platform for detecting dengue, chikungunya and Zika viruses; and 2) determine the prevalence of dengue, chikungunya and Zika virus infections among patients with dengue-like infection symptoms in medical facilities in Sarawak. Teams at two collaborating institutions, Sibu and Kapit medical facilities, in Sarawak, Malaysia will enroll and collect serum, gingival crevicular fluid, and urine samples and conduct qualitative surveys to determine risk factors associated with arboviruses. An aliquot of serum, gingival crevicular fluid, and urine samples will be run on the T-COR 8 at Sibu and Kapit facilities. A second paired aliquot of sera will be studied with US CDC gold standard molecular assays at Sibu to determine the sensitivity and specificity of the Tetracore results. A third paired aliquot of sera will be shipped to Tetracore Inc. for antibody assays. UTMB staff will provide guidance on laboratory assays and will provide statistical support to determine risk factors associated with arbovirus infection.

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